The MLB postseason race is heating up, and all eyes are on the very tight Wild Card races in each league — but particularly the NL. While the Senior Circuit’s divisional races are more or less sewn up — barring a meltdown from Milwaukee down the stretch — the Wild Card chase is still a total toss-up, with five teams all within 2.5 games of each other for the final two spots. (And with the way the Phillies have been playing of late, who knows, maybe the top spot could be in play too.) There’s so much to be settled between now and the rest of the year, so here’s a look at the up-to-the-minute NL Wild Card standings on Monday, September 18.
NL Wild Card standings, September 18
*Note: Chicago holds the tiebreaker over Miami by virtue of winning the season series
Hoo boy. The Phillies continue to do just enough to remain above the fray, safely ensconced in the top spot. The big change here, though, involves the Cubs — Chicago’s free-fall continued with a sweep at the hands of the Diamondbacks over the weekend, with five straight losses and eight in their last 10. That stretch has vaulted Arizona into the second Wild Card spot, a half-game ahead of Chicago. If the Cubs don’t snap out of this soon, they could find themselves on the outside entirely when the music stops: The Marlins’ improbable sweep of the Braves this weekend moved Miami into a tie with Chicago, behind only via tiebreaker. The Reds are right there as well, while the Giants dropped three of four at Coors Field and now have some catching up to do this week.
If Chicago’s going to make its move, now is the time: The Cubs have the Rockies and Pirates this week, before a very tough closing stretch featuring the Braves and Brewers. Miami’s schedule, on the other hand, is pretty friendly: They also have a series against the Brewers remaining, but other than that they get the Mets (twice) and then close the season against the Pirates in Pittsburgh. (The Reds also only have one playoff team remaining, with a three-game set against the Twins starting Monday. After that, it’s the Pirates, Guardians and Cardinals to close out the year.) Arizona and the Giants meet for two games this week that could serve as the final nail in San Francisco’s coffin, while the D-backs then move on to series against the Yankees and White Sox before closing with a tough one against the Astros.