Does anybody actually want to win the NL Wild Card?


San Diego’s Nick Martinez feels the warmth in reduction throughout the Padres’ 5-0 loss to Arizona on Monday.
Picture: Getty Photos

The MLB postseason begins in simply over a month. Within the Nationwide League, 4 of the six spots have all however been secured. The Dodgers will simply win the NL West, the Cardinals will win the NL Central, and the Mets and Braves will battle it out for the NL East title in the end pushing one in every of them into the NL’s four-seed. That leaves the 5 and six-seeds up for grabs. Two spots and three groups vying for a playoff berth: The San Diego Padres, Milwaukee Brewers, and Philadelphia Phillies.

Certain, groups just like the San Francisco Giants and Arizona Diamondbacks are nonetheless technically within the race, however let’s be actual, no one expects them to make a run on the postseason. COULD it occur? Certain. Then once more, my ex-girlfriend may determine to take me again. I discover neither of those eventualities very possible.

Barring some cosmic interference from the powers that be, the ultimate two NL Wild Card slots will probably be given to some mixture of the Phillies, Brewers, and Padres. The Brewers are searching for their fifth consecutive postseason berth. The Phillies haven’t reached the playoffs since 2011, and the Padres haven’t reached the playoffs in a traditional, non-COVID-shortened season since 2006. You’d assume every of those groups could be dying for a possibility to compete for a World Collection, however primarily based on the previous few days, every staff appears more than pleased to let the opposite two take their place.

Over the weekend, the Padres had been on the street for a three-game set with the Dodgers. The Padres misplaced that sequence. There’s no disgrace in dropping two of three to Los Angeles on the street. No disgrace in any respect. The place the disgrace does begin to set in is their offense although. Over their final three video games (two @ LAD, one vs. ARI), the Padres have scored a complete of 5 runs.

I perceive having bother scoring in opposition to six innings of Julio Urías adopted by Blake Treinen, however there’s no excuse for recording solely three earned runs throughout 6.1 innings in opposition to the likes of Heath Hembree, Phil Bickford, Chris Martin, Craig Kimbrel, and Ryan Pepiot. They stranded 11 runners in that recreation! The Padres led off the fourth with a pair of walks. How did the inning finish? Strikeout, strikeout, pop fly. I do know it was the underside of the Padres’ lineup, however you couldn’t even transfer them over. These are must-win video games at this level within the season, and no one appears able to doing any injury outdoors of Machado and Soto!

Fortunately, the Padres were rid of the Dodgers following that game. Their first game of their home series against Arizona featured Ryne Nelson on the mound for the D-Backs. This was his first-ever Major League start. He pitched seven shutout innings, allowing only four hits. This guy had a 5.43 ERA in Triple-A this 12 months to associate with a 5.51 FIP and declining strikeout charges every of the previous three seasons within the minors. His fastball sits at round 95 mph — nothing overpowering. The Padres couldn’t contact him. Certain, Nelson was permitting a couple of too many fly balls for consolation, however he was lacking barrels and forcing principally weak-to-medium contact. No hurt, no foul. I do know dealing with a brand new pitcher could be powerful since there isn’t a lot of a scouting report back to go off of, however this man wasn’t imagined to dominate in his first profession begin as a lot as he did, particularly in opposition to an offense that’s imagined to be as harmful as San Diego’s.

The Phillies haven’t been a lot better. They simply wrapped up a sequence with San Francisco. The Giants had misplaced seven in a row and 11 of 13 heading into that sequence with Philadelphia. Did the Phillies take benefit? No. They surrendered 13 runs to the Giants — tied for the second-most runs the Giants have scored all 12 months. This Giants staff had been hanging on by a thread all season and eventually began to see their playoff hopes fade away, however the Phillies simply needed to give them a motive to stay round, huh? San Francisco had swept simply two opponents in a three-game set or longer for the reason that begin of June. Simply two!

The Phillies might have an edge over the Brewers within the standings proper now, however now could be no time to lose video games to the lowly Giants! The Giants gave catcher Andrew Knapp, who at the moment has an OPS of .393 in 2021, seven plate appearances on this sequence. Knapp reached base or drove in a run, in 4 of them. That’s arguably the most well liked streak of your complete season for Knapp! You possibly can’t let guys like that beat you.

Then, there are the Brewers, who’ve really gained two of their final three video games. That’s nice! You realize what isn’t nice although? Dropping three of 4 to Arizona over the weekend and solely scoring two whole runs in these losses. I’ll give the Brewers credit score for scoring eight runs of their lone win, however they wanted 10 innings to take action. Think about needing further innings to keep away from getting swept by the Diamondbacks. I do know they’ve been sizzling, however the Brewers are clearly the higher staff and are in must-win territory. They’re on the skin of the playoff bubble wanting in proper now. And scoring ten runs whole over a four-game stretch in opposition to Arizona just isn’t going to assist.

Excellent news for the Brewers although, they’ve seven straight video games in opposition to Colorado, San Francisco, and Cincinnati to determine issues out earlier than they begin an eight-game stretch in opposition to the Cardinals, Yankees, and Mets. If the Brewers need any hope of passing Philadelphia or San Diego, they’re going to want to win at the least 5 of these subsequent seven.

At this fee, whichever groups can play even .500 ball till the tip of the season will in all probability get a spot within the postseason. On condition that the defending World Collection champions, the Atlanta Braves, had the worst file of any playoff staff final 12 months, it’s not absurd to say that any staff that reaches the playoffs has a good shot of hoisting the World Collection Championship Trophy on the finish of the 12 months. That mentioned, if the Phillies, Brewers, or Padres need that chance, they higher begin whipping themselves into gear. Now’s not the time to have a season-defining hunch.

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