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Going over seeding for National League in 2022 MLB playoffs

We go over seeding for the NL heading into the postseason.

Although the Los Angeles Dodgers have had a historic, dominant season, the National League has quite a few legitimate threats to win the World Series. The reigning world champion Atlanta Braves have won 101 games, and New York Mets, who led the NL East for most of the year, aren’t too far behind them. Plus, you can never count out the St. Louis Cardinals’ devil magic, especially with Albert Pujols suddenly slugging like it’s 2005 again. Here’s a quick overview of the six teams that will be involved in the National League playoffs.

2022 MLB playoff seeding: National League

  1. Los Angeles Dodgers (bye)
  2. Atlanta Braves (bye)
  3. St. Louis Cardinals
  4. New York Mets
  5. San Diego Padres
  6. Philadelphia Phillies

The Dodgers are just the eighth team in the modern era (since 1900) to win at least 110 games, setting a single-season franchise record in the process. They pace MLB in runs scored and ERA, just to name a couple of categories, and are laden with star players. But it won’t mean much if they can’t bring home the Commissioner’s Trophy, something they last did in 2020 and — for all you sticklers out there — something they haven’t done during a full season since 1988. The top half of their lineup is simply incredible, but questions about their pitching depth are well-founded given the injuries to Dustin May, Blake Treinen, Walker Buehler and others.

The Braves have proven that they are a distance runner, not a sprinter. They were a middling team last season before they won two-thirds of their games over the final two months of the regular season en route to a World Series title. They were under .500 into June this year and then won 70 percent of their games over the next four months, erasing a 10.5-game deficit in the NL East along the way. A repeat is certainly possible with a team that leads the NL in OPS and is second in ERA since June 1.

It’s been a storybook season for the Cardinals in multiple ways. Obviously, Pujols’ chase and capture of the 700-homer mark has stolen the headlines, but veterans Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado are each going to earn a lot of NL MVP votes, and this team owes much of its success to players such as Brendan Donovan, Lars Nootbaar and others who were far from household names even in Missouri at the start of the season. How deep the Cards go in the playoffs really hinges on its starting rotation. Miles Mikolas has been solid, and Adam Wainwright had looked nothing like a 41-year-old pitcher before a case of dead arm late in the regular season. What will St. Louis get out of him and former ace Jack Flaherty in the postseason?

If the Mets’ starting pitchers are on their game, it’s pretty easy to see them winning the NL pennant for the first time since 2015. Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer are a hellacious 1-2 punch, and that duo, now finally healthy together, has lived up to the hype during the season’s second half. They are backed by closer Edwin Diaz, who is having a supremely dominant season while also owning the sport’s most well-known walk-up music. The Mets have had their problems scoring runs consistently, but Francisco Lindor and NL RBI leader Pete Alonso can do a lot of damage.

The Padres almost experienced another second-half meltdown, but Manny Machado and some stellar starting pitching pulled them out of their tailspin to grab a playoff spot. Fernando Tatis Jr.’s suspension probably ended any real title hopes this team had, but San Diego can cause problems for any opponent with the way Yu Darvish, Joe Musgrove and Blake Snell are throwing the ball. Snell appeared unworthy of a rotation spot midway through the season, but he has an ERA of 2.53 and a K/9 rate approaching 13 since July 1.

The Phillies haven’t quite lived up to preseason expectations following the offseason additions of Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos. But even after firing manager Joe Girardi on June 2 and then losing Bryce Harper for an extended period due to a broken thumb, the Phillies stayed afloat and did just enough to grab the final playoff spot out of the NL. Harper has been in a slump since returning six weeks ago, but if the Phillies can string enough offense together, they have the horses on the mound — namely, Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler — to prevail in a short series.