With the MLB playoffs looming in the distance with just over a month left in the Regular Season, I thought I’d take a look at who I believe will win each division in the National League and who will secure the wild card spots as if any of the teams fizzle out, in the end, they can lose their spot as six teams are fighting for three wildcard spots.
Looking at the National League West and East standings, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves have the division on lock as the nearest team is 13 games or 12.5 games back. The powerhouses of the NL will likely each be the #1 and #2 seed, respectively, earning them a bye into the division series. The race is a bit closer to the Central Division as the Milwaukee Brewers only hold a three-game lead over the Chicago Cubs. With how each team has been playing recently, with Milwaukee being 8-2 in their last ten games and the Cubs being 7-3, I can see this race coming down to the last week of the Regular Season. However, I give the Edge to the Brewers at the moment with how everything is clicking at the right time. Who each team calls up in September will be interesting to watch as I believe if the Cubs add Pete Crow-Armstrong, that could give the Cubs the spark they need, but only time can tell with it.
Looking at the teams in the mix for a wild card berth, I see one guaranteed “lock “for the fourth seed, the Philadelphia Phillies. With Trea Turner and Bryce Harper being hot at the right time and a supporting cast of JT Realmuto, Nick Castellanos, and Kyle Schwarber, along with a phenomenal one-two punch of Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler, the Phillies are in an excellent position going into October. Now is where things get interesting. Currently, for the last two wild card spots, there are four teams within three games of each other (and the Marlins are six back of the fifth wild card spot, but they are fading quickly, going 2-8 in their last ten games so I don’t see them taking one of these spots). As to the competing teams, we have the Chicago Cubs holding the fifth spot with a two-game lead over the sixth and final playoff team at the moment, the San Francisco Giants. However, the Giants are by no means safe, with the Arizona Diamondbacks a half-game behind them and the Cincinnati Reds one game back. As to my predictions, with how close this race is, I realistically can see any mix of the Cubs, Giants, Reds, and Diamondbacks taking the last two playoff spots. Still, I see the Chicago Cubs holding on and sneaking in as the sixth seed (this could be swapped with the Brewers if Chicago takes the division, but currently, I see the Cubs sneaking in as the last wild card team. Cody Bellinger’s renaissance is too good for him not to play in October baseball, as to the fifth seed that will go out west to the Desert in Corbin Carrol and the Arizona Diamondbacks. The offense is super sneaky and young, and it’s clear they are hungry for playoff baseball, and it will show in this last month. That and the thought of facing Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly in playoff baseball isn’t ideal for opposing teams. The Reds don’t have the pitching for them to make the Jump over 2 of these teams to sneak in, and the Giants have been overperforming all season; look at that team and tell me that it’s a playoff team because I do not see it.
Final seeding prediction
#1 Atlanta Braves (bye)
#2 Los Angeles Dodgers (bye)
#3 Milwaukee Brewers (hosting #6 Chicago Cubs)
#4 Philadelphia Phillies(hosting #5 Arizona Diamondbacks)
#5 Arizona Diamondbacks (at #4 Philadelphia Phillies)
#6 Chicago Cubs (at #3 Milwaukee Brewers)
The National League has been one wild division this year, and the crazies are far from over for these teams trying to hold their division lead or who are trying to claw their way into a playoff berth.