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National League playoff field is taking shape

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Surging Cardinals, sunk Padres, and Brewers back in October. One week left

New York Mets v Milwaukee Brewers Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images

With one week left in the season, there are only a few things left to decide on the National League side of the MLB playoff bracket.

The Dodgers and Giants are separated by two games in the NL West, with six games to play. The earliest San Francisco can clinch the division is Thursday. If Los Angeles wins the division, it won’t happen until Saturday at the soonest.

The Braves lead the Phillies by 2½ games in the NL East, with a magic number of five to clinch a fourth consecutive division title.

The Brewers clinched the NL Central on Sunday, making the playoffs for the fourth straight year, a first in franchise history. Milwaukee is locked into the No. 2 seed in the NL, and will host the NL East winner in the first two games of the NLDS.

The second-place team in the NL West will have the second-best record in the National League, and likely the majors, but will have to host the wild card game to even get into postseason series play.

St. Louis will almost certainly be the road team for the wild card game, after winning 16 straight games through Sunday. The Cardinals lead the Phillies and Reds by six games for the second wild card spot, with only six games to play.

Second NL wild card spot

Team W-L Pct GB Elimination #
Team W-L Pct GB Elimination #
Cardinals 87-69 0.558 --- ---
Phillies 81-75 0.519 6 1
Reds 81-75 0.519 6 1
through September 26

The Cardinals’ magic number to clinch the second wild card is just one (over both teams), and St. Louis could clinch the spot as early as Tuesday.

The Padres were eliminated from playoff consideration on Saturday, a stunning collapse that saw them go from an 80.2-percent chance of making the postseason on August 10 to dropping 29 of their next 40 games.

With only one week left in the season, here’s what’s left on the schedule for the teams still fighting for playoff positioning:

  • Dodgers: vs. Padres, vs. Brewers
  • Giants: vs. D-backs, vs. Padres
  • Cardinals: vs. Brewers, vs. Cubs
  • Braves: vs. Phillies, vs. Mets
  • Phillies: at Braves, at Marlins