Previewing the Playoff Matchups: NL

Last time we looked at the possible (and almost certain) playoff matches in the American League. With about five games left, lets turn to the senior circuit which has a surprising amount of spots left in flux.

Technically the NL East is still in play with the Braves being five behind the Phillies with five games remaining. We can go ahead and chalk that one up to Philly though. St. Louis has already clinched the NL Central and the Dodgers have clinched at least a Wildcard berth giving us two teams for sure and another baring a Mets-style collapse. The last spot is between Atlanta and Colorado for the most part with San Francisco technically still in consideration at five back with, again, five to play.

So what are the likely matchups? They are a lot harder to predict than the AL as the division leaders are all within 2.5 games of each other, but the current trends would have the Dodgers playing the Cardinals and the Phillies grabbing the Rockies. That basic structure will hold as long as the Dodgers hold onto their 1.5 game lead as the best record in the NL and the Rockies (or Giants I suppose) take the Wildcard.

Other scenarios would necessitate the Rockies dropping their current three game lead over the Braves, who would then being paired up with the Dodgers, should they maintain the best NL record. If both NL West teams collapse and the Braves prevail in the Wildcard and the Dodgers lose out on the best record, then things again become a toss up depending on who prevails between the Cardinals and Phillies.

Confused yet? Luckily, we’ll all know what’s what by the end of the week, but in a final few games in which the playoff participants are all almost figured out, at least there’s something worth watching for in the NL.

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Matthew Carruth is a software engineer who has been fascinated with baseball statistics since age five. When not dissecting baseball, he is watching hockey or playing soccer.

4 Responses to “Previewing the Playoff Matchups: NL”

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  1. Matthew Nolan says:

    If the Dodgers lose out on the best record and Braves take the wild card then there is no toss up. The Phillies play the Dodgers and the Braves play the Cardinals.

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    • egats says:

      This isn’t necessarily true.

      If the Dodgers lose out on the best record AND the Braves win the wild card, then that means either the Phillies or the Cardinals have the best record in the NL.

      If the Cards have the best record, then they play the Braves, like you said.

      But if the Phillies have the best record, their opponent could still be either the Dodgers or the Cardinals, depending on who has the worst record.

      Here’s an example: Braves win their final 5 games (against FLA/WASH) ti finish 91-71. Phillies win their remaining 5 games (against HOU/FLA) to finish with 96-66 record. Rockies lose their next two games to Milwaukee, and then take one out of three from the Dodgers to finish at 90-72. Dodgers also lose tonight to San Diego, in addition to taking 2 out of those 3 from Colorado. This would give the Dodgers a final record of 95-57. Then the Cards lose all of their remaining 5 games (Cin/Mil) to finish at 90-72.

      In this case, the Phillies would play the Cards in round one, and the Dodgers would play the Braves.

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  2. Preston says:

    Actually, another reasonably likely scenario (although a bit less likely after tonight’s games, I guess) is that St. Louis catches the Phillies but not the Dodgers, meaning that (assuming the Rockies hang on to the wild card), the Dodgers would play host to the Phillies while the Cards would host the Rockies.

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  3. smuldoon says:

    Phills – Cards = Phills in the W.S..

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