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MLB Playoff Watch: Dodgers set to clinch division as Mets and Braves battle


By Rowan Kavner
FOX Sports activities MLB Author

With a couple of weeks left to go, the identical two questions stay within the Nationwide League playoff race: Will the Mets or the Braves win the East, and might the Brewers make a push for a ultimate wild card?

The West has been a foregone conclusion for months; the Dodgers may wrap up the division as early as Tuesday. The Cardinals’ second-half surge has them comfortably forward within the Central. There’s nonetheless an enormous cushion between the Dodgers, Mets, Braves, Cardinals and everybody else within the NL. 

The Braves have been on the Mets’ tail all through the second half — they entered the break 2.5 video games again — and eventually jumped into the lead briefly, solely to quickly fall again into second place. The Braves sit 1.5 video games again as of Tuesday. Will probably be a dash to the end within the East, with the second-place finisher virtually assured of the highest wild card.

That leaves the 78-62 Phillies, 77-64 Padres and 75-66 Brewers all vying for the ultimate two playoff spots.


Arrow pointing: Up
Total report: 97-43, first in NL West
Since commerce deadline: 27-10
Previous 10 video games: 7-3
Playoff odds (by way of FanGraphs): 100%

It’s tempting to say the arrow is nearer to impartial right here, solely as a result of the Dodgers’ as soon as otherworldly tempo is now merely a record-setting one. With 22 video games nonetheless to play, the Dodgers turned the primary crew to clinch a spot within the postseason on Monday. They might have purpose to have fun once more Tuesday, with their magic quantity to clinch the division at one.

Tony Gonsolin, an NL Cy Younger contender, remains to be experiencing soreness in his forearm and hasn’t pitched this month. Blake Treinen returned from a partial tear in his shoulder capsule, solely to be positioned again on the injured listing attributable to shoulder tightness. These are pitchers the Dodgers had been and nonetheless are hoping will contribute in October. Als, the lengthy ball has began to get to Andrew Heaney, and the previous two begins for Dustin Might haven’t been as crisp as his first two coming off Tommy John surgical procedure.

However that is poking holes in a pitching workers led by Julio Urías, Clayton Kershaw and Tyler Anderson, who’ve mixed to go 4-0 with a 2.13 ERA in September. Anderson’s work shouldn’t be ignored in an All-Star season that started with him in lengthy reduction.

On the plate, the Dodgers proceed to rake. They boast the reigning NL Participant of the Week in Freddie Freeman — he went 12-for-22 with three homers final week to take dwelling his third weekly honor of the yr — and Justin Turner and Max Muncy proceed to warmth up on the proper time. 


Arrow pointing: Impartial 
Total report: 89-53, first in NL East
Since commerce deadline: 24-15
Previous 10 video games: 5-5
Playoff odds: 100%

Matchups towards the Nationals, Pirates (twice), Marlins and Cubs whereas attempting to lock down the highest spot within the East? Sounds nice!

Effectively, not precisely.

The Mets are 5-5 to start out that stretch, adequate to hop again into first place of their division however not as emphatically as they may have hoped. The offense has a extremely respectable .808 OPS in September, however it has come and gone (they’ve scored three runs or fewer 5 occasions this month and 7 runs or extra 4 occasions). Essentially the most encouraging signal is Eduardo Escobar, who’s immediately tearing the quilt off the baseball. He had a .652 OPS when the month started; that is as much as .724 after he began the month 18-for-39 with 5 homers.

All eyes will flip to Max Scherzer and his well being as he recovers from indirect irritation. Within the bullpen, Mychal Givens has had a tremendous month, however the relievers past Edwin Diaz and Adam Ottavino haven’t impressed a ton of confidence. The Mets’ final save likelihood was Sept. 1 — not what they might’ve anticipated on this extremely winnable stretch.


Arrow pointing: Impartial
Total report: 87-54, second in NL East
Since commerce deadline: 24-13
Previous 10 video games: 7-3
Playoff odds: 100%

The Braves had been surging, profitable eight straight to hop the Mets for the primary time this yr. Then they cooled off.

Seattle’s George Kirby held the offense in test Saturday, the Braves dropped a heartbreaker after rallying for 5 runs within the ninth Sunday, and the offense once more was late to the get together Monday. Again to the Sunday recreation: It was the second blown save of the month for Kenley Jansen and the primary time he allowed two homers in a recreation since Oct. 1, 2018. Jansen has essentially the most saves within the Nationwide League this yr, however he additionally has seven blown saves, three of which have are available in his previous seven appearances. 

The Braves are additionally going to want Ronald Acuña Jr. and Matt Olson to get going as they make a late push for the highest spot within the East. Olson has 4 hits in his previous 45 at-bats.

On the intense aspect, reliever Raisel Iglesias continues placing up zeroes repeatedly. He has allowed one run since being acquired, whereas the highest of the rotation appears extremely formidable with Max Fried and Spencer Strider, who allowed a career-high 9 hits Monday however nonetheless struck out 9. Strider has 120 strikeouts in his previous 78 innings. 

MLB Energy Rankings: Astros and Dodgers are nonetheless the groups to beat

Ben Verlander offers us his newest MLB Energy Rankings, led but once more by the Astros and Dodgers.


Arrow pointing: Up
Total report: 83-58, first in NL Central
Since commerce deadline: 28-10
Previous 10 video games: 7-3
Playoff odds: 99.8%

It’s quite exceptional simply how considerably the Cardinals have blown this factor open within the Central, contemplating that they trailed the Brewers on the break. They’re eight video games up after Monday’s slate of motion and sprinting towards their first first-place end in three years. They’ve additionally had — and can proceed to get pleasure from — one of many best second-half schedules amongst NL contenders. Nonetheless, it’s one factor to get a straightforward matchup and one other to reap the benefits of it. Since shedding two of three to the Rockies on Aug. 11th of September, the Playing cards haven’t dropped a collection.

The bats of Nolan Arenado (6-for-34) and Lars Nootbaar (2-for-28) have began to chill down this month, however Tommy Edman and Corey Dickerson have helped make up for that. Jordan Montgomery and Jose Quintana nonetheless look terrific of their new uniforms. The larger concern proper now could be the bullpen, which has stumbled to an NL-worst 6.61 ERA this month. 


Arrow pointing: Barely up
Total report: 78-62, third in NL East
Since commerce deadline: 23-14
Previous 10 video games: 6-4
Playoff odds: 91.8%

Matchups towards the Marlins and Nationals have helped the Phillies proper the ship since getting swept in San Francisco. They’re going to have to reap the benefits of one other upcoming collection in Miami earlier than a treacherous stretch that includes two collection towards the Braves sandwiched round a two-game set towards the Blue Jays. 

The one crew with a better OPS this month than the Phillies (.825) is the Dodgers (.844), which is very noteworthy contemplating that Bryce Harper began September in a 5-for-29 rut and Nick Castellanos is out attributable to an indirect pressure. The absence of Zack Wheeler has been felt, because the starters not named Aaron Nola have struggled this month (5.83 ERA). On the intense aspect, the bullpen simply noticed the return of Seranthony Dominguez, which ought to present some reduction. 

Mike Trout, Freddie Freeman, Aaron Choose headline Staff of the Week

Mike Trout, Freddie Freeman, Aaron Judge headline Team of the Week

Ben Verlander offers us his newest Staff of the Week, that includes the Dodgers’ Freddie Freeman and Max Muncy, the Angels’ Mike Trout and the Yankees’ Aaron Choose.


Arrow pointing: Down
Total report: 77-64, second in NL West
Since commerce deadline: 17-18
Previous 10 video games: 5-5
Playoff odds: 82.2%

This was imagined to be the time the Padres made their run. It’s exhausting to consider that as a substitute, they’ve had a shedding report since including Juan Soto, Josh Bell and Brandon Drury to their lineup. After all, the Fernando Tatis Jr. suspension nonetheless hangs like a darkish cloud over what this Padres season may have been. Nonetheless, there was definitely extra to be anticipated from the group in place.

The Padres’ pitching workers is 4-5 with an NL-worst 6.41 ERA in September. Their offense holds a .202 batting common this month, the worst mark in baseball. Soto is 3-for-28 with no extra-base hits. Drury has been out most of September attributable to a concussion. Bell is slashing .205/.322/.307 since becoming a member of the Padres. The membership’s 14 homers in September elevate their OPS barely, however it isn’t in any respect what common supervisor A.J. Preller needed to have envisioned only a month in the past.

And but, even after dropping 5 of their previous eight video games to the first-place Dodgers and the Diamondbacks, the Padres nonetheless maintain a wild-card spot. Josh Hader is beginning to look a bit of extra like himself. There are indicators of life, however for this group, time is working low to get into gear. 


Arrow pointing: Impartial
Total report: 75-66, second in NL Central
Since commerce deadline: 18-20
Previous 10 video games: 6-4
Playoff odds: 26.1%

The Brewers discover themselves largely in the identical spot they’ve been the previous few weeks: sitting simply outdoors the playoff image, two video games again of a wild card. 

The subsequent 10 days will go a good distance towards figuring out their destiny, with collection forward towards three first-place groups within the Cardinals, Yankees and Mets. If the Brewers can get by way of that round .500, they end the season towards the Reds, Cardinals, Marlins and D-backs and will make a late September run for a playoff spot, regardless of their second-half struggles.

Rowan Kavner covers the Dodgers and NL West for FOX Sports activities. He beforehand was the Dodgers’ editor of digital and print publications. Comply with him on Twitter at @RowanKavner.

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