Baseball Reflections

If the baseball season ended today: NL playoff predictions

It’s almost hard to believe but the 2022 MLB season is heading towards the final stretch and with the trade deadline looming, it’s time to take a hard look at which teams are in the driver’s seat heading into the postseason and which teams are sitting on the bubble to keep their playoff hopes alive.  With 60 games or so left, many things can happen and a team can get hot or simply fall apart in the playoff race.

Which teams are ‘safe” bets to make the 2022 postseason?

I make that statement with a lot of trepidation because so many variables can happen from now until early October.  A top pitcher can get hurt, batters can go into prolonged slumps the heat can affect players, solar flares, etc. can all mean the difference between playing in October or heading home and waiting until next February for spring training.  The National League teams who seem to be in control of their own destiny include:

  1. New York Mets: Coming off of big wins versus their cross-town rivals the Yankees, the Mets seem to be in control of the NL East and hold a 61-37 record right now.  Max Scherzer looked like a man on fire burning down the Yankees and I would not necessarily write off a Subway World Series this year.  However, the Mets have competition in their own division nipping at their heels and they need to stay on course or they could miss a chance to clinch a spot in the playoffs.
  2. Los Angeles Dodgers: it looks like old Chavez Ravine will get to see more postseason action in 2022.  The Dodgers have a ten-game lead in the NL West and are looking to make this year’s World Series a West Coast-East Coast affair.
  3. Milwaukee Brewers: Once a doormat for both the American and National Leagues, the Brew Crew are now perennial contenders and they hold a three-game lead in the NL Central.  Regardless if they win their division outright or clinch a wild card spot, the Brewers should be preparing to extend their season well into October.

With the expansion of the wild card system to three teams, this postseason will hold some additional drama and the wild card race is tightening up into a baseball marathon race of sorts.  The wild card spots will go to the teams who can simply survive intact and keep their winning ways alive.  As we sit today, these teams look to wrap up the wild card spots:

  1. Atlanta Braves: The 2021 World Champions are in a dogfight to maybe even overtake the Mets in the NL East.  Although they started out slow, the Braves are sitting only two games back of the Mets currently and could strike at any time.  Don’t count out a repeat of the 1996 World Series with the Braves and Yankees squaring off 24 years later.
  2. San Diego Padres: If you’re going to mention the 1996 Braves, you might as well through in the Padres too as the NL team who squared off against the Bronx Bombers back in 1998.  Currently at 55-45, the Padres seem to be in control right now and putting themselves on auto pilot for the playoffs.  The Padres better not rest easy and just try to coast through August and September, however.  The competition for these wild card spots is heating up and the Padres need to not only keep pace with the division-leading Dodgers but keep ahead of the WC competition as well.
  3. St. Louis Cardinals: The Cardinals are at 52-47 and just three games back behind the Brewers in the NL Central.  Whether the Redbirds have enough energy left to make it to the Fall Classic remains to be seen; who doesn’t want to see Pujols, Molina and Wainwright make it at least to the playoffs one more time?  If anything, else, this year’s Cardinals are the sentimental favorites heading into the postseason.  Sentimentality will only get you so far though and the Cards have the Phillies and Giants applying their own wild card pressure as we head into August.

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