The National League playoffs are beginning to take their final shape, with only a few more details to be sorted out. The Dodgers are zeroing in on the No. 2 seed, and here are the details why.
Dodgers 8, Cubs 5: The Dodgers went with a bullpen game on Sunday and it worked, thanks to another strong offensive performance by the big blue machine. The number four was prevalent, with Matt Kemp tying season highs with four hits and four RBI, Yasiel Puig scoring a career-high four runs, and the club momentarily lowering their magic number to clinch the division to four.
Padres 8, Giants 2: San Francisco saw its division hopes take a serious blow by getting swept in San Diego, scoring four total runs in three weekend games at Petco Park. With the Giants' loss, the Dodgers saw their magic number shrink to three.
To clinch against the Giants, the Dodgers need to win two of three games in the upcoming series.
Pirates 1, Brewers 0: Old friend Russell Martin played hero again, driving home the winning run with the single in the seventh inning. The Pirates are tied with the Giants for the top Wild Card spot and since they beat San Francisco in four of six games this year would host the NL Wild Card Game in Pittsburgh should the two teams finish with the same record.
Reds 7, Cardinals 2: Jay Bruce homered twice and Todd Frazier added another, dropping St. Louis to two games back of the Dodgers with six to play.
Nationals 2, Marlins 1: Stephen Strasburg pitched seven scoreless innings as Washington closed in on the No. 1 seed in the National League.
In case any of the top three teams end up tied and it comes to this, the Nationals own the tiebreaker over the Dodgers (winning four of six games head-to-head), the Dodgers own the tiebreaker over the Cardinals (won four of seven), and the Cardinals own the tiebreaker over the Nationals (won five of seven).
Here are the scenarios for the Dodgers to get one of the top three seeds:
No. 1 seed: For the Dodgers to have home field advantage through the NLCS, they need 10 of 13 outcomes (outcomes in this case being the six remaining Dodgers games and seven Nationals games) this week to go their way.
No. 2 seed: For the Dodgers to clinch the second seed over the Cardinals, they need four of 12 outcomes to go their way.
No. 3 seed: For the Cardinals to beat out the Dodgers for the No. 2 seed, St. Louis needs nine of 12 outcomes to go their way in the final week of the regular season.
Monday's relevant action (all times PT)
4:10 p.m. - Pirates (Francisco Liriano) at Braves (Aaron Harang)
5:05 p.m. - Cardinals (Adam Wainwright) at Cubs (Travis Wood)
7:10 p.m. - Giants (Jake Peavy) at Dodgers (Dan Haren)