With less than a week left in the MLB regular season, three teams are still making a push to make the playoffs: The St. Louis Cardinals, Colorado Rockies and the Milwaukee Brewers. Every one of these teams is within a few games of each other making it one of the closest races in the MLB.
Looking back at last years playoffs, the Colorado Rockies and the Arizona Diamondbacks played each other in the National League wildcard game. Only the Rockies have a chance at making it back to that game. Predicting who will make the wildcard is one of the hardest things to do as a writer (who would have predicted the A’s to make the wildcard?). Every team has a chance to make the one-game playoff, and it all comes down to whos hot, and who is not.
At this point, the Cubs are cold, ice cold. Their lead on the Brewers has shrunk drastically in the last month, mostly because of a terrible offense and a mediocre pitching staff. It will not surprise me one bit if they fall into the top wildcard spot by the time the season ends. They’re a shadow of their former self. They will not win the Central Divison, not unless their hitting decides to show up. If that does not happen, they will have to play a red-hot Rockies, Cardinals or Dodgers in the Wildcard. As a fan of the Cubs, that is the worst possible outcome. The wildcard game is unpredictable and comes down to who can hold a lead. With the way the Cubs have been playing, they would definitely lose that game.
The Brewers have been complete polar opposites. They have swept the Pirates, won series against the Reds and Cubs and on the verge of sweeping wildcard contender Cardinals. It’s only a matter of time before they take over first place in the NL Central. With a lineup that rivals the 2016 Cubs, the Brewers appear to be a clear favorite to run deep into the postseason. With the future NL MVP Christian Yelich (Yeah, I said it) and an elite bullpen, whoever has to play them in the Wildcard (or NLDS) will have a challenging time.
The top spot for the Wildcard will either be the Brewers or the Cubs, that is a given fact. The second spot will be either the Dodgers, Rockies or Cardinals. With the way the Cardinals have been playing lately, they need a miracle to make the wildcard. After getting swept by the Brewers, they need to sweep the Cubs or take two out of three. Not only will that need to happen, but they will also need the Rockies to lose their series against the Nationals. In other words, they need a miracle.
The NL West is just as competitive as the NL Central. Half a game separates the Dodgers and the Rockies (as of now). The Dodgers play the Giants for their final series while the Rockies play the Nationals. It is possible for the Dodgers to lose the first place spot in the NL West. The Dodgers are playing against their rival San Francisco Giants who would like nothing better to knock them out of first.
Prediction: the Rockies will come out to win the West.
Who will make it? Honestly, the Rockies have the best chance to take control of the second spot in the wildcard. As for the winner of the NL Central, that will come down to the final three days.
Prediction: Cubs vs. Dodgers. The Cardinals will not make the playoffs and the Brewers will take over the NL Central.