Last night the National League playoff picture was set. The Washington Nationals were eliminated from the NL playoff race last night after their 4-3 loss to the Cardinals. That coupled with wins from the Pirates, and Reds means the National League is over. Well, it’s been over for weeks now. The Nationals hung in there for a while though. For the Pirates, this is their first playoff appearance and winning season since 1992. The Reds are making the playoffs for the third time in four seasons, and our Dodgers have already clinched the NL West, and are in the playoffs for the first time since 2009.
This means the five playoff teams in the National League have been finalized, and we inch closer and closer to knowing who the Dodgers will play in the division series starting on October 3. The National League central division winner still has not been decided yet, but the Cardinals are in control at the moment with a two game lead over the Pirates, and Reds.
Now the Dodgers and the rest of the NL playoff field can focus on trying to acquire home field advantage by finishing with the best record in the league. The Braves currently hold the lead for the best record, by a half game over the Cardinals, and a two game lead over the Dodgers. The last time the Dodgers won the division in 2009, they also finished with the best record in the National league with a 95-67 record. Here’s how the race for home field looks right now and how the playoff picture looks in the National league.
NL Home Field Standings1. Atlanta 92-64 - 2. St. Louis 92-65 .5 3. Dodgers 90-66 2 —————————————— 4. Pirates 90-67 2.5 5. Cincinnati 90-67 2.5
NL Wild Card Game NL Division Series-1 NL Division Series-2
4. Cincinnati NL Wild Card winner 3. Dodgers
5. Pittsburgh 1. Atlanta 2 .St. Louis
The Dodgers have regular season tie breakers with St. Louis (4-3), and Pittsburgh (4-2), but not against Atlanta (2-5), or the Reds (3-4). Can the Dodgers catch the Braves for home field? They have six games left to do it. It’s a tough balance between trying to get home field, and keep everyone healthy, yet keep them active and from getting rusty before the playoffs. It’s a tightrope Don Mattingly will have to walk for the last six games of the season. If the regular season ended now, the Dodgers would be the number three seed, and would play the number two seeded Cardinals in the NLDS. The Cardinals would have home field based on their better record, and the Dodgers would start the series in St. Louis for games 1 and 2 before coming home to Dodger Stadium for games 3 and 4.
The National League division series begins on October 3.