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MLB Standings: Braves pad lead, Wild Card spots still up for grabs

A closer look at the National League Playoff picture with just over a month left in the regular season.

New York Mets v Atlanta Braves Photo by Alex Slitz/Getty Images

With just a little over a month remaining in the regular season, the playoff picture for the National League is still wide open. The Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers are well positioned at the top of the standings and the Milwaukee Brewers have won five-straight to hold serve in the NL Central. The Wild Card picture though remains unsettled and could go all the way down to the end of the regular season.

The Braves just completed a 7-2 homestand that pushed their record to a league best 84-44. Atlanta currently holds a 13.5 game lead over the Philadelphia Phillies in the NL East standings. Atlanta is heading out on their last west coast swing Friday with a three-game series in San Francisco. From there they will come back to Denver for a three-game series against the Rockies before wrapping up the trip with a four-game set against the Dodgers.

The Dodgers have an 11.5 game lead over the Diamondbacks and Giants in the NL West. Despite Milwaukee’s winning streak, they have only picked up a half game in the standings over the Cubs and Reds.

NL Division Leaders

Division Leaders W L PCT WCGB L10 STRK
Division Leaders W L PCT WCGB L10 STRK
Atlanta Braves* 103 57 .644 - 7-3 L1
Los Angeles Dodgers* 99 61 .619 - 6-4 W1
Milwaukee Brewers* 91 69 .569 - 7-3 W3

Before we look at the Wild Card race, a quick reminder on the playoff format. If the season ended today, the Braves would be the No. 1 seed and would host the winner of the No. 4 and No. 5 matchup from the Wild Card round. The Dodgers would host the Brewers or the final Wild Card team in the Division Series

The Phillies remain in the top Wild Card spot and just took two of three from the Giants to begin a long homestand. Philadelphia currently has a 2.5 game lead over the Cubs for the top Wild Card spot. They will host the Cardinals over the weekend before the Angels coming in next week to wrap up their homestand.

The Giants’ free fall has opened the door for the Cubs to move into the second wild card spot. Chicago has won six of 10 and will begin a four-game series in Pittsburgh Thursday, before Milwaukee comes to Wrigley Field for a showdown next week.

The Reds began a three-city west coast swing with a three-game sweep against the Angels to move back into the final Wild Card spot. Cincinnati will begin a pivotal four-game series in Arizona Thursday night.

NL Wild Card Standings

Wild Card Teams W L PCT WCGB L10 STRK
Wild Card Teams W L PCT WCGB L10 STRK
Philadelphia Phillies* 89 72 .553 5.0+ 7-3 L3
Miami Marlins 84 76 .525 0.5+ 6-4 W3
Arizona Diamondbacks 84 77 .522 -- 5-5 L3

That series in Arizona is notable for a Diamondbacks team that struggled coming out of the All-Star break, but has once again regained their footing. Arizona has won four-straight and eight of 10 overall. They are just a half game behind the Reds for the final spot.

The Giants held the second wild card spot at the start of the week before dropping two of three in Philadelphia. San Francisco had a chance to win that series, but a bullpen implosion Tuesday cost them. The recovered to win in extra innings Wednesday, but their offense has been struggling and Gabe Kapler used 10 pitchers in Wednesday’s game. Of all the teams here, they appear to be the one falling the fastest.

A little further back are the Miami Marlins who are just 4-6 over their last 10 games and have dropped 2.0 games back of the final playoff spot. Seven of their next nine games are against the Nationals so we will see if they can creep back into the race.

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