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NL Wildcard Games to Watch This Week
The National League wildcard race is heating up coming into the last couple of weeks of the regular season. The 1st wild card spot will be taken by the NL West by either the Los Angeles Dodgers or the San Francisco Giants. The Dodgers currently have the spot but are close to overtaking the Giants for the divisional lead.
The 2nd wildcard spot is up for grabs. There are 4 teams within 4 games of the last wild card spot. This next week is a big week for these 4 teams who are looking to extend their season into the playoffs. Let’s look at the next week’s series for the 4 closest teams to see who has the best chance to take the last wild card spot in the National League.
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals are currently holding down this last spot and hope to win enough games to solidify their spot in the playoffs. St. Louis will start the week on Monday with a tough 4-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers who are safely in the lead for the NL Central divisional title. They will need to play some great baseball to win a few games at Miller Park.
They will continue their road trip traveling to Wrigley Field in Chicago to take on the Cubs for a 4-game series. This will make for 8 games in 7 days as they start off the Chicago trip with a double-header on Friday. This series will be a great opportunity for the Cardinals to make up lost ground from the Brewers’ series.
Cincinnati is 3 games back from the Cardinals after losing the series against the Dodgers which was their 8th consecutive series loss. They will have a very winnable week spending the whole week at home starting off with a 3-game series against the Pirates, who are at the bottom of the NL Central.
Starting Thursday, the Reds will host the Washington Nationals, who are at the bottom of the NL East, for a 4-game series through the weekend. If the Reds can take care of business next week, they should put themselves in a great position to take the final wild-card spot.
The Phillies have made a late push for the last wild card spot winning 4 out of their last 5. They are now 3.5 games behind the Cardinals with the easiest schedule remaining in the MLB.
They will be at home all week starting off with a 3-game series against the worst team in baseball, the Baltimore Orioles, and then a 4-game game series against the struggling Pittsburgh Pirates.
San Diego Padres
The Padres are tied with the Phillies at 3.5 games back. They start off their week with an off-day on Monday, which will be much needed as they go into a series against the Giants at home. They will continue their homestand with another divisional leading team with the Atlanta Braves who lead the NL East.
The Padres are lucky to be playing at home as they will need all the help they can get facing some very talented playoff teams. They have the hardest remaining schedule in the MLB and will need to show why they deserve a playoff spot by beating some of the best in the league.
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