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MLB Playoff Picture: Chaos reigns in NL Wild Card chase

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

American League Wild Card Game 1: New York Yankees v. Cleveland Indians Photo by Joe Sargent/MLB Photos via Getty Images

While things have widened out at the top, the race for the final Wild Card spot in the National League intensified this week with four teams lining up for what could be a chaotic finish.

At the top of the standings, the Atlanta Braves completed an 8-2 western road trip and capped it off by taking three of four games from the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Braves at 90-46, now lead the Dodgers by six full games for the top seed in the National League. By taking the season series, Atlanta also holds the tie breaker over Los Angeles should they end the season tied. The Braves are back at home Tuesday to face the Cardinals and the Pirates this week. The Dodgers will head to Miami and Washington.

The Milwaukee Brewers hold a 3.5 game lead over the Cubs in the central after taking two of three from the Philadelphia Phillies over the weekend. They will begin a six-game road trip in Pittsburgh on Monday.

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 lost two of three to the Brewers over the weekend, but strengthened their grip on a wild card spot. They currently lead the Chicago Cubs by 2.5 games and will begin a three-game series in San Diego Monday. The Cubs split a four-game series in Cincinnati this weekend and hold a 3.0 game advantage over the four teams chasing the final spot. Chicago will begin a three-game series against the Giants Monday and will then host the Diamondbacks for four games.

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

Those two series could be significant as the Diamondbacks and Giants are among the four teams battling for the final spot. Arizona dropped two of three to the Orioles over the weekend and will begin a three-game set against the Rockies Monday. The Giants dropped three of four to the Padres and are sliding heading into their series at Wrigley.

The Marlins were 3.0 games back in our last update, but have jumped back into the fray after sweeping the Nationals in a four-game series. They will return home to face the Dodgers Tuesday and will then hit the road for Philadelphia and Milwaukee.

At 71-68, the Reds currently have one more win and one more loss than the other teams chasing the final wild card spot. They are back at home Monday to begin a homestand against the Mariners and the Cardinals.

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