As we careen toward the inevitable National League Division Series matchup between the Dodgers and Mets, let's first take a look at the National League playoff picture and standings with 12 days remaining in the regular season.
The only thing officially decided in the NL is that the Cardinals have clinched a playoff spot, though for all intents and purposes the five postseason teams from the senior circuit are clear, though not yet finalized.
Here is a look at Tuesday's action plus what's ahead to sort out the NL playoff seeding
Alex Wood pitched well, but a close game turned ugly late, the Dodgers losing 8-0 to the Diamondbacks for their fourth straight loss. The magic number to clinch the division remains at seven.
Remaining schedule: vs. Ari (2), at Den (3), at SF (4), vs. SD (3)
Old friend Hector Olivera hit a three-run home run in leading the Braves over the Mets in New York. The Dodgers hold a one-game lead over the Mets in the loss column in the fight for the second seed in the NL playoffs, which is important for Los Angeles since New York holds the tiebreaker by winning the season series, four games to three.
Remaining schedule:vs. Atl (1), at Cin (4), at Phi (3), vs. Was (3)
John Lackey allowed a solo home run to Jay Bruce in the first inning, but nothing else over his seven innings, leading the Cardinals to a 3-1 win over the Reds in St. Louis. Center fielder Tommy Pham doubled and drove in two for the Cardinals, who lowered their magic number to clinch he NL Central down to ...eight...
The Cardinals own the tiebreaker over both the Mets and Dodgers and could clinch a better record than both those teams (and thus potential home field advantage in the NLCS) with a win plus a Dodgers loss on Wednesday.
Remaining schedule: vs. Cin (1), vs. Mil (4), at Pit (3), at Atl (3)
The Pirates scored all of their runs in the first four innings at Coors, then held on to beat the Rockies 6-3, Pittsburgh lowered its magic number to clinch a playoff spot to just one, and remained two games up on the Cubs for home field advantage in the Wild Card Game, and four games back of the Cardinals in the NL Central.
Remaining schedule: at Col (2), at Chi (3), vs. StL (3), vs. Cin (3)
Cubs ace Jake Arrieta continues to make a very strong bid to crash Zack Greinke 's Cy Young Award party, pitching a shutout while striking out 11 against the Brewers on Tuesday night, lowering his ERA to 1.88 while winning his 20th game of the season.
Remaining schedule: vs. Mil (1), vs. Pit (3), vs. KC (1), at Cin (3), at Mil (3)
The Giants got a two-run home run from Angel Pagan in the seventh inning for some insurance, then held on to beat the Padres 4-2 in San Diego in the opener of a three-game series. San Francisco is down six games in the NL West.
Remaining schedule: at SD (2), at Oak (3), vs. LA (4), vs. Col (3)
The disappointing Nationals were held to one unearned run in six innings by Ubaldo Jimenez, who was effectively wild with five walks to go with his five strikeouts. With the loss, Washington's elimination number is down to six.
Remaining schedule: vs. Bal (2), vs. Phi (3), vs. Cin (1), at Atl (3), at NYM (3)