The 2018 MLB regular season is coming to an end. With only five days remaining, the entire American League side of the postseason bracket has been set.
The Boston Red Sox are coming out of the East and will have home-field advantage throughout their playoff run with the best record in baseball. They’ve won 106 games with five to play. The Astros have also already hit the century mark and have taken the AL West crown. Cleveland has the Central division wrapped up with 88 wins and the Yankees and A’s are set to face off in the Wild Card game.
On the Senior Circuit, the East has been settled with the Atlanta Braves coming out on top. That means the only remaining races to be settled in baseball are the Central, West and the Wild Card.
NL Central Race
The National League Central race has been narrowed down to two teams. The Brewers and Cubs are separated by just a half-game heading into Wednesday’s games. Mathematically the Cardinals are still alive too, but just one loss or a win by the first place team will eliminate them completely.
The Brewers have trailed the Cubs for most of the season. They are finally closing in though and are setting up for a dramatic end to the season.
Fortunately for the Brewers, their final series will come against one of the weakest teams in baseball. After they wrap up their series with the Cardinals tonight, they will head back home to open a three-game series with the Detroit Tigers Friday. They are sending Jhoulys Chacin to the mound tonight, but with the off-day Thursday, they haven’t set any of their pitchers for the final series against Detroit.
The Cubs have had a strong hold on the National League Central nearly all season long. They’ve fallen back a couple times, but every time they’ve recovered first place. Now they can’t’ afford to fall behind again and they are in danger of doing so with the Brewers right on their heels.
Chicago has a slightly tougher remaining schedule. They are sending Jose Quintana to the mound tonight and Jon Lester tomorrow to finish up a four-game series with Pittsburgh. After tomorrow’s game, the Cubs will host the Cardinals over the weekend to finish out the season. The Cardinals are also fighting for a playoff spot and are set to throw tough pitching at the Cubs all series.
National League West
The National League West is still very much up for grabs. The Dodgers are trying to fend off the Rockies, who trail them by just a half game.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Los Angeles is looking for it’s sixth straight Western Division crown. Just one year removed from a World Series appearance, they haven’t been nearly as dominating in 2018. For most of the season the West was a three way race between LA, Colorado and Arizona. The D-Backs have since fell from contention, but Colorado is still well within striking distance.
The Dodgers are set to face off with Arizona in their series finale tonight, with Ross Stripling on the mound. After that, they have an off day Thursday before going to San Francisco for their final series of the season. They will have Hyun Ryu, Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler in those games.
National League Wild Card
The other remaining race, for the NL Wild Card, has also come down to two teams. St. Louis and Colorado are also just a half-game apart in the standings as they head into their final series’ of the season. It is possible the Brewers could fall back into the middle of this race, but it isn’t likely.
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals fell out of the second Wild Card spot after their loss to Milwaukee last night. Their elimination number is still at five though. However, they have a tough road ahead. After finishing up with the Brewers tonight behind John Gant, the Redbirds will get an off day and then head to Chicago to face the Cubs.
That series should be a good one. The Cubs are always tough, but the Cardinals will be going behind some of their best pitching. Adam Wainwright will get to pitch in the first game Friday night. He gave up four runs his last time out, but was a victim of some poor defense and the time before that he dominated the Dodgers in LA. In the second game, the Birds will send out their ace Miles Mikolas. Finally, Jack Flaherty will get the start in the final game of the season.
Colorado has been in first place in the NL West this year and they’ve been several games out of the Wild Card. However, they now find themselves in a playoff spot and they only have to hold on to it for five more games.
The Rox are going to get to finish up the season at home. They will host the Phillies for two more games, tonight and tomorrow before the Nationals come into Coors. There haven’t been any pitching match-ups set for the Nats series, but they could face Max Scherzer on the final day of the season.
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