The Los Angeles Dodgers have flipped the National League West, the Tampa Bay Rays are making a valiant run, and the Washington Nationals are hanging in there.
Races heading into the 2018 Major League Baseball postseason still find a way to stay interesting after 150 games.
The NL Central, NL West, AL and NL Wild Card battles are all going to be watched under a microscope with less than two week's worth of games remaining. Not too far away either is the NL East.
Joining the Boston Red Sox, the Cleveland Indians are only the second team to clinch a postseason spot. They claimed the AL Central crown and will make the playoffs as the No. 3 team in the AL Bracket. No one though has clinched a position in the National League yet, and likely will not until the final week.
Eight spots left unclaimed with the Astros and Yankees not being too far away from joining the list. At the rate the Dodgers are winning games (six of their last seven), they probably are not far off either. No matter what, Los Angeles is in a good spot after they once were at risk for missing the playoffs for the first time since 2012.
One team that has fallen out of that conversation is the Atlanta Braves who were a game and a half from the top seed in the NL. Now they have lost four straight and leave the Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals still holding out hope.
National League Postseason Picture:
Central: Chicago Cubs 89-62
West: Los Angeles Dodgers 84-68
East: Atlanta Braves 83-68
National League Wild Card Standings (Games remaining against Wild Card teams):
Milwaukee Brewers: 86-66 +3.5 (3)
vs. Cincinnati (1)
@ Pittsburgh (3)
@ St. Louis (3)
vs. Detroit (3)
St. Louis Cardinals: 84-68 +1.5 (3)
@ Atlanta Braves (1)
vs. San Francisco (3)
vs. Milwaukee (3)
@ Chicago Cubs (3)
Colorado Rockies: 82-69 -1.5 (10)
@ LA Dodgers (1)
@ Arizona (3)
vs. Philadelphia (4)
vs. Washington (3)
Philadelphia Phillies: 77-73 -6.0 (4)
vs. NY Mets (1)
@ Atlanta (4)
@ Colorado (4)
vs. Atlanta (3)
Arizona Diamondbacks: 78-74 -6.0 (3)
vs. Chicago Cubs (1)
vs. Colorado (3)
vs. LA Dodgers (3)
vs. San Diego (3)
Washington Nationals: 77-75 -7.0 (3)
vs. NY Mets (4)
vs. Miami (3)
@ Colorado (3)
Since the last update, the Milwaukee Brewers and the St. Louis Cardinals have not done much to add to their leads in the Wild Card. Milwaukee playing against lower teams at home in the division, only won two games in their past two series, with one being Christian Yelich's cycle. St. Louis lost three out of four to the Dodgers, but rebounded to take two against Atlanta.
Still, they hold the final two spots and have benefited with the Dodgers running through the NL West.
While the Dodgers jumped past the Rockies for the lead in the division, if Colorado can rebound it will make for a interesting finish in the National League as a whole.
However, the Rockies can't even beat the lower tier teams, shut out twice in the Bay. The Rockies will have a say in how the remainder of the season plays out, especially in the NL East, playing the Phillies and the Nats as both are grasping for straws with the Braves sinking.
Once again the Nationals are on the way out, looking in. They remain in the update only because they have a slight chance in the division (6.5 games back), and a real favorable schedule. At the same time, write-off the Arizona Diamondbacks, they are 4-13 in their last 17.
East: Boston Red Sox: 103-48 -- clinched postseason spot
West: Houston Astros: 95-56
Central: Cleveland Indians: 84-66 -- clinched division
American League Wild Card Standings (Games remaining against Wild Card teams):
New York Yankees: 92-58 +8.0 (4)
vs. Boston (2)
vs. Baltimore (3)
@ Tampa Bay (4)
@ Boston (3)
Oakland Athletics: 90-61 +5.5 (0)
vs. LA Angels (2)
vs. Minnesota (3)
@ Mariners (3)
@ LA Angels (3)
Tampa Bay Rays: 84-66 -5.5 (4)
@ Texas (1)
vs. Toronto (4)
vs. NY Yankees (4)
vs. Toronto (3)
Just when it looked like the Yankees and the Oakland Athletics were going to be in a foot race for the top Wild Card spot, it evaporated. Losing once to the Baltimore Orioles, twice to the Tampa Bay Rays and another to the Los Angeles Angels, the Athletics faded. On the flip side New York got a huge win at home against the MLB-leading Red Sox.
The remaining schedule for each remain polar opposites as the calendar winds down. A race will still likely present itself.
Tampa Bay missed a golden chance to give themselves an outside shot. A sweep against Oakland, combined with the other results would have got them within 4.5 games. An extra-inning loss at home essentially ended their far hopes. Their record post All-Star break? 35-19.
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