Heading into September, the National League West is a two-team race, just like we thought in the preseason. But it’s the Dodgers and Giants, with the Padres plummeting.
San Diego has lost 13 of its last 16 games, including a three-game sweep at the hands of the Dodgers at Petco Park last week. That has the Padres an astonishing 15½ games back of San Francisco in the division.
National League West
Giants 84-46 (.646), ---
Dodgers 82-49 (.626), 2½ GB
Padres 69-62 (.527), 15½ GB
But the Padres free fall has completely eroded the easy-landing fallback proposition of an NL wild card spot. Whichever one of the Giants or Dodgers don’t win the division will be very likely taking the first wild card spot, with the Dodgers currently leading the Reds by 11½ games and San Diego by 13 games.
On August 10, just under three weeks ago, San Diego held a relative comfortable 4½-game cushion for the second wild card berth. Now, they trail Cincinnati by a game and a half.
National League wild card
Dodgers 82-49 (.626), +11½ GB
Reds 71-61 (.538), ---
Padres 69-62 (.527), 1½ GB
Cardinals 66-63 (.512), 3½ GB
Phillies 66-64 (.508), 4 GB
It’s way too early for this, but the Dodgers’ magic number to clinch a postseason berth is 19.
The Dodgers and Giants will play each other for the final time this regular season next weekend in San Francisco. Before that, both teams host division leaders, with the Brewers playing four games in San Francisco and the Braves coming to Los Angeles for three games.