Today, for the first time in MLB history, there were two extra games played in the MLB regular season. The Milwaukee Brewers defeated the Chicago Cubs for the NL Central division title while the LA Dodgers defeated the Colorado Rockies for the NL West division title. With these play-in games complete, the National League playoffs are set.
Atlanta Braves V. LA Dodgers
The LA Dodgers defeated the Rockies earlier today as Walker Buehler went 6.2 scoreless innings, giving up one hit, with three walks and three strikeouts. Max Muncy and Cody Bellinger each hit two-run home runs to help the team win their sixth straight NL West title.
LA barely squeaked by, but now have the luxury of hosting Atlanta in the NLDS. The Dodgers had most of the same roster last year when they lost in the World Series to the Houston Astros in game 7. This year the Dodger acquired Manny Machado during the All-Star break to fortify themselves for another deep October run.
The Atlanta Braves won their first NL East title since 2013. Atlanta is led by veterans Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis as well as Rookie of the Year candidate Ronald Acuña Jr. Atlanta has surprised everyone as they were supposed to be in the last year of a rebuild but were able to overthrow the Washington Nationals for NL East supremacy. Atlanta’s young squad will be tested by the Dodgers who have been here before. The first major obstacle for the Braves will be the Dodgers ace, Clayton Kershaw.
Milwaukee won their first NL Central title since 2011. It was all hands on deck today and Orlando Arcia stepped up as the middle of the line up had an off day. The number eight hitter in the lineup was hitting .227 for the season and had been sent down to the minors multiple times. With a division title on the line, Arcia impressed as he went 4-4 with two runs scored. This was the first four-hit game of his career. Orlando was able to spark the offense as he led off with a single in the eighth inning and ended up scoring the winning run.
Milwaukee has a few days off and will be watching the NL Wildcard Game very closely. The Brew Crew will host the winner of Colorado and rival Chicago in a five-game series. MVP Candidate Christian Yelich won his first batting title and the first by a Brewers player as he hit ..326 for the season. He fell two home runs and one RBI short of the triple crown, but submitted an impressive resume for MVP.
Chicago Cubs V. Colorado Rockies
Both teams lost their respective play-in game today and by default face off in the one-game Wild Card on Tuesday. John Lester and the Cubs will host Antonio Senzatela and the Rockies in a winner takes all match. The Rockies have won the NL wildcard for the second year in a row. Colorado was on the verge of winning their first NL West title but was dispatched by the Dodgers 5-2. The Rockies scored on a pair of home runs in the top of the ninth by Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story but that was all. LA was able to keep phenomenal Rockies offense in check due to a gutsy performance by Walker Buehler. Colorado will need to provide better run support against the Cubs or it will be another short playoff appearance.
Chicago lost 3-1 to the Brewers as they had no answer for MVP candidate for Christian Yelich. Yelich went 3-4 with an RBI. Anthony Rizzo hit a solo shot in the fifth but that was all the offense they could muster. Chicago’s had won the NL Central two years in a row but have found themselves on the brink of elimination. The Cubs are going to rely on John Lester for the winner takes all match. Lester has an advantage over Senzatela because he has pitched in a winner takes all before. Chicago will need to get to Rockies Pitcher Senzatela early to put the pressure on the Rockies. Chicago has the veteran experience and will have to rely upon that to get back to the NLDS for the fourth straight year.
Feature Image From CBS Sports.