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MLB Playoff Picture: The Braves are in, but the Wild Card race remains unsettled

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

2019 NL Wild Card - Milwaukee Brewers v. Washington Nationals Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The Atlanta Braves clinched their sixth-straight division title with a win over the Philadelphia Phillies Wednesday night. The other division races in the NL are proving to be anti-climatic, the race for the three Wild Card spots are still up for grabs.

The Braves have widened their gap over the Los Angeles Dodgers for the top seed in the National League. The Dodgers’ magic number to clinch the NL West is four over the Diamondbacks and the Giants. The Milwaukee Brewers have a 4.0 game lead over the Chicago Cubs entering play on Thursday. Milwaukee’s magic number is currently 13.

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 face the winner of the Phillies and Cubs in the Division Series. The Dodgers would face the Brewers or the final wild card team, which right now is still up for grabs.

The Phillies are still in control of the first wild card spot despite losing three of four to the Braves to start the week. Their lead has dwindled to just 1.5 games over the Cubs for what could be home field advantage in the best-of-three Wild Card round. Chicago has lost two-straight and are 5-5 over their last 10 and have missed a chance to tighten the race further.

The Phillies will head to St. Louis this weekend before a trip to Atlanta to face the Braves for the final time during the regular season. The Cubs will begin a huge series in Arizona on Friday.

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

Behind the Phillies and Cubs are four teams battling for the final spot who are all within a half game of each other. The Diamondbacks and Reds are currently tied for the final spot with 76-71 records. The Marlins and Giants are just a half game back with 75-71 marks. These teams have all been chasing each other since the end of August and none of them have been able separate themselves.

Arizona is at home to face Chicago in a critical series for their playoff hopes. The Reds will try to complete a sweep in Detroit Thursday before heading to New York to face the Mets. Miami has hung in the race despite losing both Sandy Alcantara and Jorge Soler to injury. They will wrap up a series with Milwaukee Thursday before returning home to face the Braves. The Giants appeared to be in free fall a little over a week ago, but have won five of six to get themselves back in it. They will begin a four-game series in Colorado against the Rockies Thursday.

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