Sep 4, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves second baseman Dan Uggla (26) celebrates scoring with first baseman Freddie Freeman (5) in the fifth inning against the New York Mets at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

National League & American League Playoff Picture


As we sit on September 5th, the 2013 season has less than 25 days until the conclusion of the regular season.  Like most seasons, both the American League and the National League still have question marks to who will have the shot to win the World Series Championship.

The American league still has nine teams fighting for five spots as the Boston Red Sox hold the best record in the AL.  The Detroit Tigers are possibly still the team to beat in the entire league, still sit on top of the AL Central and the Oakland A’s and Texas Rangers are clinging to a tight battle for the West.  Other teams still holding strong are Kansas City Royals, Cleveland Indians, Baltimore Orioles, New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays.  Currently the wildcard teams would be the loser of the A’s and Rangers battle and Tampa Bay.

But that’s the AL and the Braves don’t have to worry about that until hopefully later October.  So lets look deeper inside the National League teams and figure out the toughness of each team’s schedule.

 

National League

East

Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta Braves 85-54…The Braves have 23 games remaining in 2013 with 10 being at home and all but three games will be played against teams under .500…easiest schedule out of any of the NL playoff contenders but still have work to do if they want home field advantage and for the Braves, home field is where they need to play.

  • Phillies 63-77 – 7 games
  • Marlins 52-86 – 4 games
  • Padres 62-77 – 3 games
  • Nationals 71-68 – 3 games
  • Cubs 59-80 – 3 games
  • Brewers 60-79 – 3 games

Washington Nationals 71-68…The Nationals will have the toughest time in trying to get back into playoff contention.  They are currently seven games back in the last wildcard spot.  Nats have 23 games remaining on their schedule and only 10 home games.  Washington may make a run here in early September but the back half of the month looks tough with nine games against playoff caliber teams.

  • Marlins 52-86 – 7 games
  • Mets 63-75 – 4 games
  • Phillies 63-77 – 3 games
  • Braves 85-54 - 3 games
  • Cardinals 80-59 – 3 games
  • D-Backs 70-68 – 3 games

 

Central

Pittsburgh Pirates 81-58…The Pirates currently hold onto first place in the NL Central as they claimed their first guaranteed winning season record since 1992.  They have 23 games remaining in 2013 with only 11 being at home and nine against the two other teams they are battling with in the Central.  The Pirates hold a slim lead and could fall back into the wildcard depending on their month of September.

  • Cardinals 80-59 – 3 games
  • Rangers 80-59 – 3 games
  • Cubs 59-80 - 7 games
  • Padres 62-77 – 4 games
  • Reds 78-62 – 6 games

Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

St. Louis Cardinals 80-59…The Cardinals are the one team the Braves do not want to see at all in the playoffs.  The past two years they’ve knocked them out and right now, I’d rather not face them early in the playoffs than try to get payback for the pain they’ve caused us all.  The Cards have had the case of the injury bug late with Allen Craig and Yadier Molina.  Cards have 23 games remaining and 15 home games.

  • Reds 78-62 – 1 game
  • Pirates 81-58 – 3 games
  • Brewers 60-79 – 7 games
  • Mariners 63-76 – 3 games
  • Rockies 65-76 – 4 games
  • Nationals 71-68 - 3 games
  • Cubs 59-80- 3 games

 

Cincinnati Reds 78-62…The Reds have 22 games remaining with 13 of them being played on their home turf.  Cincinnati called up speedster Billy Hamilton to spark an offense that needs some help and he’s already made an impact.  The Reds have a really strong lineup and rotation and other than the Dodgers and Pirates series, they should do well in the month of September.

  • Cardinals 80-59 – 1 game
  • Dodgers 83-55 – 3 games
  • Cubs 59-80 – 3 games
  • Brewers 60-79 - 3 games
  • Astros 46-93 – 3 games
  • Pirates 81-58 - 6 games
  • Mets 63-75 - 3 games

 

West

Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angles Dodgers 83-55…LA has been the hottest team in baseball since the All-Star break and look to continue that heading into October.  If you’re a Dodgers fan you must be excited about where the team is now compared to the beginning of the year.  Dodgers have a combined great offensive lineup and a solid group in their rotation.  With 23 games still left on the calendar and 10 at home, the Braves will be fighting with these guys for home field advantage for the playoffs.  Yasiel Puig has been the Dodgers electric player this season and will look to continue his strong second half of his rookies season to propel the Dodgers.  Freddie Freeman beat him once this year in the All-Star voting, hopefully we can concur them again!  After the next 10 games, the Dodgers should be able to coast right into the playoffs.

  • Reds 78-62 - 3 games
  • D-Backs 70-68 - 7 games
  • Giants 62-77 - 7 games
  • Padres 62-77 - 3 games
  • Rockies 66-75 - 3 games

 

 

Arizona D-Backs 70-68…The D-Backs are the one team other than the Nationals with still an outside shot at making the playoffs.  Led by Paul Goldschmidt, they currently stand 7.5 games behind the last wildcard team.  They must make a huge September run if they’d like to play in October.  With 24 games left and only 10 games at home, the D-Backs have a lot of work to do.

  • Giants 62-77 – 4 games
  • Dodgers 83-55 – 7 games
  • Rockies 66-75 - 6 games
  • Padres 62-77 - 4 games
  • Nationals 71-68 - 3 games

 

In Closing

My predictions for the NL are the Braves winning the East and the National League and receiving home field advantage.  Dodgers will handle the West easily but won’t win home field.  Those are obvious picks, the Central is where it gets interesting…I believe the St. Louis Cardinals will overtake both the Reds and the Pirates to win the Central.  But both Pittsburgh and Cincinnati will get a playoff birth with the Wildcard game.  Washington will make things interesting through mid-September but will fall off.

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  • fireboss

    The Nats are 6.5 games behind the Reds, 6 in the lost
    column. In order to tie the Reds they have to win 6 more games than the
    Reds. If the Reds simply play 500 ball – 11 and 11 – the Nats have to go 17 – 6. if the reds continue at their 557 pace the Nats would have to
    go 18-5. In the case first that’s a sweep of the Marlins twice (7),
    Mets (4), Phillies (3) and at least two wins from the series with
    the Braves, Cards or Diamondbacks. If the Reds win 12 – their projected pace – the Nats need 3
    wins to accompany those sweeps.

    The Nats simply haven’t shown the
    ability to consistently play 739 baseball much less the 7f the Reds win 12. Meanwhile the Diamondbacks are in
    virtually the same situation and have their last three games against the
    Nats in AZ.
    The Reds have 12 games against the Cubs, Mets, Brewers
    and Astros along with their in division matchups with the Cards and
    Pirates (twice) and one series with the Dodgers.They simply have to win
    the series against the sub 500 clubs and take one game from each of
    their remaining series to force the Nats to post a .739 winning
    percentage.While the Reds have been stumbling it would take a collapse
    for them not reach the post season. If the Nats aren’t toast they’re certainly hot buttered muffins
    Jayson Stark’s post on potential playoff schedule issues is really interesting because of the delay and pitching ramifications and he doesn’t even include the Nats in his admittedly extreme scenarios.

  • http://tomahawktake.com/ carpengui

    The Nats are toast, but I’m sticking with my prediction that the Dodgers will win the #1 seed… unfortunately.

    • fireboss

      If we keep giving away games it’s certain. The Dodgers since Hanley’s return to form and Puig’s arrival are just as tough on the road as at home.
      I’ve had this odd reverse sid slid feeling since the break. I actually worry about the Pirates doing to us what we did to them when they had Bionds Bonilla and Van Slyke in their outfield

    • David Zampini

      I think we will win home field. Remember, we have the tiebreaker over the Dodgers (including any three-way with any of the Central teams). That gives us an extra half game that could prove to be huge. It’s been noted ad nauseum how important home field would be for us. 15 wins gets it done for us I think. That would make LAD have to go 18-5 to take home field. I don’t see that happening with their schedule.