Well baseball fans, the 2017 MLB All-Star Game is now complete. As the festivities in Miami came to a close last night, it is time for the baseball world to turn their attention to the second half. The next major pitstop will be the July 31st Trade Deadline. After that, all eyes will be on the run to the playoffs. So why not take a look at how the National League playoffs are looking right now.
If the season ended today, the playoffs would shake out like this:
(1) Los Angeles Dodgers vs WC Winner
(2) Washington Nationals vs (3) Milwaukee Brewers
(WC1) Arizona Diamondbacks vs (WC2) Colorado Rockies
The NL West was an absolute dogfight in the first half of the year. Despite that, the Los Angeles Dodgers still managed to emerge with the best record in the NL, with 61 wins and 29 losses. They ended with a six-game win streak, putting them 7.5 over the DBacks and 9.5 over the Rockies. They are as safe of a bet as it comes in terms of making the playoffs.
As for the Nationals, their record sits at 52-36. That’s good for a 9.5 game over the Atlanta Braves, 10.5 over the Miami Marlins and 12 over the New York Mets. Given how stacked their roster is, even with Trea Turner out with injury, it is hard to imagine them completely falling apart. The only thing that could truly derail them is their bullpen or another major injury. But the playoffs are looking really good at the moment.
The NL Central is a little more up for grabs however. Currently, the Milwaukee Brewers are 50-41. That’s good for a 5.5 game edge over the reigning World Series champion Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals. The Pittsburgh Pirates sit seven back as well. Given the pedigree of the clubs chasing the Brew Crew, I would not feel too comfortable out in Wisconsin just yet.
That brings us to the Wild Card. The Arizona Diamondbacks are 53-36 and the Colorado Rockies are 52-39. That means they both hold better records than the Brewers, and are virtually on par with the Nats. However, not many expect them to maintain that Nationals type pace.
But still, that means the playoffs in the NL runs through the West. The Cubs and Cards are both 7.5 back, while the Braves sit eight out. All three of those teams are currently under .500. Those three and maybe the Pittsburgh Pirates are likely the only realistic options to potentially grab a Wild Card slot.
As I sit here in mid-July, I would say the NL Central trades hands. While I see the Rockies and Dbacks cooling off a bit, I don’t think there will be a team able to jump up and catch them, unless the Cards or Cubs do something big at the Trade Deadline. I see one of them overtaking a Brewers club that will fade back.
What do you think? How will the National League playoff picture shake out? Tell us in the comments!