NL Wildcard Catch Up: Where it Sits Heading into Final Three Weeks
The National League wildcard race is heating up as we head into the final three weeks of the season. The San Diego Padres hold a slight advantage on the Cincinnati Reds for the second wildcard spot. The Los Angeles Dodgers have essentially locked up the first spot being up 15 games to the Padres.
The National League West is proving to be very strong by having the potential to have three teams represent the division in the playoffs. The National League Central teams, the Reds, and the Cardinals are both fighting the Padres for the last spot. The Reds are 0.5 games out and the Cardinals are 1.5 games out as they beat the Reds today to win that crucial series.
The next closest team is the Philadelphia Phillies who are three games out of the Wildcard. They have their work cut out for them with only three weeks left in the season.
Let’s take a look at the Padres, Reds, and Cardinals to analyze what these teams must do to get into the playoffs to acquire the last wildcard spot.
San Diego Padres
The Padres have the hardest remaining schedule out of the whole MLB. They will face the division-leading Giants 10 times, the wildcard leading Dodgers four times, and three against the wildcard chasing Cardinals. The only other series of the season that is not included in this count is one against the 76-66 Atlanta Braves.
This will not be an easy road for the Padres, but they are lucky to be in the driver’s seat going into this tough last three weeks.
The Reds, on the other hand, have the second easiest schedule left in the MLB. Their tough series will be a three game series against the Dodgers and a two game series against the AL Central leading White Sox. The Reds will need to focus on not getting swept in the series to blow their chances.
They have many winnable games left in their schedule including nine games against the NL Central last-place Pittsburgh Pirates and a series against the NL East last-place Washington Nationals. Ten of their last 18 games will be played at home
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals are near the Padres in having the fifth hardest schedule remaining in the MLB. They will face the NL Central leading Milwaukee Brewers seven times and the Padres for three games. The easier side of their schedule includes seven games against the Chicago Cubs and three against the New York Mets.
The Cardinals will need to win most of their games against the Cubs and the Mets to have a chance to win the last Wildcard spot.
All three of these teams have not been playing well as of late. This is keeping this race close which should make it an exciting finish as we come to the close of the regular season. On paper, the Reds should be able to take this final wildcard spot, but the Padres will start the last three weeks of the season with the lead.
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