National League Wild Card raceDate: August 12, 2019
By: Ronny Castaneda
America’s pastime has been a treat for fans all around the world. With free agents like Bryce Harper and Manny Machado finding new homes within division rivals, baseball fans were in for a treat. And of course, everyone was all in for the division battle between the Cubs, Brewers and now Cardinals in the NL Central, yet we didn’t expect a championship hangover to hit Boston as hard as it did.
This baseball season has grown to become some of the most storied of all time, but nothing has caught more attention than the race for the final spots in the National league wild card race.
Thanks to the unruly braves picking up where they left off that season, The NL East has the potential to send three teams into October. The Nats have been ahead of the pack for the majority of the season, despite losing arguably baseballs best power hitter in Harper, the nationals have been able to get by with Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto. Slugger Trae Turner has also been putting his work for the team.
But when you have Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg slinging heat every other night, the offense can afford to take some cutbacks. Regardless, Washington still has an issue in the bullpen that can become a growing issue later in the season.
St. Louis Cardinals/ Milwaukee Brewers
St. Louis had to sit in the back seat last season while Milwaukee and Chicago battled for the NL Central crown. After the NL Central saw teams being placed everywhere, the cardinals have jumped around between first and third for the past month or so, and it seems like they could be staying towards the top.
With two series left with the division leading Cubs and Brewers each, the Cards will have more than enough chances to show their power. With Yadier Molina being recently activated off the IL, St. Louis is in prime position to get gears moving towards October.
The Brewers will now have more to worry about than the Cubs this year. Now with the Cardinals making noise, there is a crucial season ahead if they hope for another shot at the World series after falling short last year.
Stud Christian Yelich continues to keep pitchers up at night, leading the majors in homeruns. Mike Moustakas and Ryan Braun as add more power within the lineup. Zach Davies and Brandon Woodruff have been solid on the mound as well but have had their fair share of let downs.
Although the talk revolves around these two, Cubs aren’t completely off the hook as they only lead the division by two games. The NL Central has been and will continue to be the most competitive division for the rest of the season.
New York Mets
No matter who you root for, there is no covering your ears from the Noise being made in Queens. After being labeled as one of the worst teams in baseball a little over a month ago, everyone was prepared to shove the Mets under the rug.
But the All-Star break was kind to New York, as they’ve become the hottest team in the league, winning 15 of their last 17 matchups. The pitching for the Mets certainly earned an upgrade with the addition of Marcus Stroman at the deadline to the already stellar rotation consisting of Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Zach Wheeler and Steven Matz. The offense has also made a name for itself with Jeff McNeil leading the majors in Batting and Pete Alonso on pace to shatter the rookie record for homeruns.
Even the bullpen that had blown game after game earlier in the season has stepped up despite Edwin Diaz not become the player they had traded for in the off-season. But that hasn’t the Mets from going on one of the most storied runs, well, ever. With one of the hardest schedules left, they will surely be tested as they make a push for October.
Arizona Diamondbacks/ San Francisco Giants
The rest of the NL west is left to watch the Dodgers dominate day in and day out. The only teams capable of having a chance at some October baseball will be D-backs and Giants. Both these teams have traveled from top to bottom within their division.
Despite trading stud pitcher Zack Greinke, Arizona has managed to keep with pack for that wild card. The Giants have also had their fair share of controversy, after rumors around Madison Bumgarner’s departure from the bay area made the trade deadline much more interesting. Both teams can make enough noise to push for October, but they’ll have to figure out the drama in the dug-out first.
The Phillies were set to have one of the best up and coming teams in the majors. The Acquisition of Harper in free agency hope to push Philly over the edge into one the best teams in the league. Philly’s stud pitcher also adds some star power with Cy Young runner-up Aaron Nola being the main attraction.
Jake Arrietta still hasn’t shown signs that he can go back to Cy Young-winning season for the Cubs. The Phillies have definitely got to start rolling if they’re looking to play well into the fall, with the Mets heating just in time for a playoff push.
The MLB has seen all sorts of records broken in some recent years, and this year is no different. Mix this with every team’s narrative that’s pushing for October on the NL side and the absolute power houses that run the AL, then everyone will be in for a show when time to award the Commissioners Trophy.
Ronny Castaneda can be reached at email@example.com.