With 40 games remaining in the regular season, the NL Wild Card race features seven teams within 3.5 games of the final two spots.

Paul Goldschmidt
Paul Goldschmidt of the St. Louis Cardinals is finally mashing. (Image: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty)

The Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs are currently occupying the two Wild Card spots in the National League. Five teams are on the bubble including the Milwaukee Brewers, Philadelphia Phillies, NY Mets, Arizona Diamondbacks and San Francisco Giants. The Wild Card race heats up with less than six weeks remaining.

NL WILD CARD STANDINGS (As of 8/16/19)
WASHINGTON Nats 65-55
CHICAGO Cubs 64-57
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MILWAUKEE Brewers 63-58
PHILADELPHIA Phillies 63-58
NEW YORK Mets 62-59
SAN FRANCISCO Giants 61-61
ARIZONA Diamondbacks 61-61

Things are so crazy in the NL Central that those teams are cannibalizing themselves. The top team will clinch the division and a playoff spot, while the team in second place might bubble the Wild Card.  The St. Louis Cardinals and Paul Goldschmidt rallied back into contention for the division title. The Cards head into this weekend with a slim lead in first place.

Lose Your Illusion

The LA Dodgers (81-42) slowed down a bit, but they’re still the top team in the National League. FanGraphs projects the Dodgers as a 18.1 percent chance to win the World Series after two consecutive runner-up finishes.

The Dodgers and their red-head rookie pitcher Dustin May, hold almost a 20-game lead over the Giants and Diamondbacks (both tied) in second place.

The SF Giants and D-Backs are 61-61 each. With neither of them finding any luck against the Dodgers, and the pesky San Diego Padres led by Fernando Tatis, Jr., are still putting up a fight.

Even though they are only 3.5 games out of the Wild Card, you can pretty much chalk up to their closeness as an illusion. The D-backs traded away their best pitcher when they shipped out Zack Greinke to the Houston Astros. The Giants decided to hold onto Madison Bumgarner for one final shot at a postseason with Bruce Bochy before he retires.

Unless the D-backs or Giants embark on a 30-10 heater in the final quarter of the season, they’re both super long shots to advance.

Troubles and Bubbles in the NL East

Second place is up for grabs in the NL East. The Washington Nationals held the line without their ace Max Scherzer and they’re in the top Wild Card spot. The Phillies and Mets are jockeying for position for the other spot.

The Mets were on an epic heater winning 16 out of 17 games after the trade deadline. The Mets did not deal their big pitching guns and retained Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler. They strengthen the rotation with the addition of Marcus Stroman. However, it looks like the Mets ran out of steam. Can they gear up for another winning streak before the end of the season? If they can get hot again, then the Mets can shock the world with a playoff berth.

NL Central: Cubs to Lose?

Less than 8 games separate first and last place in the NL Central. It looks like a three-way brawl to the finish among the Cubs, Brewers, and Cardinals. The Cubbies got caught by the Saint Louis Cardinals, who currently hold the top spot in the hotly-contested NL Central. It seems like every couple of weeks, a different team takes their place in the lead. Five weeks ago, the Brewers were the team to beat.

Currently, the banged-up Brewers are only one game behind the Cubs in the Wild card hunt.

According to FanGraphs, the Cubbies ate 56.4 percent favorite to win the division. The Brewers are 25.5 percent, while the Cardinals are 17 percent.

FanGraphs also points out that the Cubs are a 71.9 percent chance to make the playoffs. The Brewers have a 42.9 percent chance, while the Cardinals have only a 32.2 percent shot at the postseason.

Out of all the teams in the NL Central, the Cubbies have the best percentage, at 5.1 percent, to run the table in the playoffs and win the 2019 World Series.

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