The NL East Race in September is Must Watch Baseball
There are 3 weeks left of baseball before the expanded playoffs begin. If the season ended today, here’s how the expanded playoff bracket would look for the National League:
No. 1 Dodgers vs. No. 8 Marlins
No. 2 Braves vs. No. 7 Giants
No. 3 Cubs vs. No. 6 Cardinals
No. 4 Padres vs. No. 5 Phillies
The Braves would face the 21-21 Giants in their first-round Best of 3. The Phillies would face the 26-17 Padres. That is a huge difference between finishing 1st or 2nd seed in the NL East.
The Phillies are currently holding the automatic playoff spot that goes with second place in the division. They weren’t the only NL East matchup in extra innings yesterday as the Miami Marlins beat the Braves in extras too. Atlanta’s lead over Philadelphia for the division lead is down to 2 games, with Miami 1½ games behind the Phillies and the Mets still in the hunt, 3½ behind the Phils.
The Braves got some bad news today with their ace LHP Max Fried. He was placed on the injured list with muscle spasms. They are looking for Fried to be back in the rotation mid-September. He’s currently 6-0 with a 1.98 ERA in nine starts. How much will the Braves miss Fried? All other Braves starting pitching this season are 3-10 with an ERA nearing a solid 7.0.
Fried has faced the Phillies twice this season and beaten them both times, allowing one run in 10 innings and striking out 11. Never want to see someone get hurt, of course, but definitely something to keep an eye on the last 3 weeks of the season, even with the Phillies and Braves not meeting again this season after splitting 10 games.
The Phillies will have a double header today against the Boston Red Sox before opening up a 7 game series over the course of 5 days down in Miami against the Marlins.
The Phillies and Marlins haven’t played since their Opening Day series due to the initial COVID-19 scare the MLB faced over it’s first two weeks of resuming play. The Phillies lost 2 of 3 that series against a Marlins team that isn’t very good, but has played well and finds themselves fighting for a playoff spot in a shortened season and expanded playoffs.
As for the Mets, the Phillies have three games left against them in their season series. The Phillies have won 5 of the first 7. They meet again at Citizens Bank Park September 15-17.
For a team that hasn’t performed well in September in almost a decade, the Phillies are playing solid baseball. Offensively, the lineup top to bottom is tough to get through. As we all know, the bullpen will be the defining factor for the Phillies moving forward. If they can hold up, the Phillies will have a chance at 1st place in the NL East and head into the playoffs ready to make a run at a World Series.
Mandatory Credit: The Philadelphia Phillies