With August coming to an end in a few weeks, the 2021 MLB regular season is slowly creeping to a halt.
The MLB playoff picture often lacks clarity at this point in the year, but when it comes to the National League in 2021, we already have a pretty good idea of which five teams are going to crack the postseason.
Let’s take a look.
The NL East
The NL East is very weak, and it might end up being the most dramatic division race in all of MLB.
Realistically, either the New York Mets (56-51) or Philadelphia Phillies (55-53) are going to come out of the division.
The Atlanta Braves are still hanging around, but with Ronald Acuna Jr. on the shelf for the rest of the season, Atlanta doesn’t exactly have the personnel to get the job done.
The Braves announce Ronald Acuña Jr. has a complete tear of his right ACL and will undergo season-ending surgery. pic.twitter.com/LgobJ0tAVp
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 11, 2021
The NL East is the biggest question mark regarding the NL playoff picture.
The other four playoff teams can be penciled in already.
The NL Central
The NL Central division is essentially a done deal.
The Milwaukee Brewers are far and away the best team in the race, and although the Cincinnati Reds (57-51) are having a solid campaign, the seven-game difference between the two clubs is likely too big for Cincy to overcome.
In all likelihood, the Brewers will be making their fourth straight trip to the playoffs.
The team is more than capable of making some noise in October, and Brewers fans are itching for Milwaukee to finally get over the hump by making a deep run.
The NL West
The NL West is a three-horse race, and it’s also the best division in baseball.
The San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers, and San Diego Padres are going to crack the playoffs—it’s just a matter of who wins the division title.
Right now, the Giants are atop the division.
The Dodgers are three-and-a-half games back and the Padres are seven games back.
Realistically, the Dodgers are the only team with a chance at catching up to San Francisco.
Also can we just talk about how the #Padres are 15 games above .500 having one of the best seasons in franchise history and are in 3rd place?!? Bad year to be in the NL West 🤷🏼♀️
— Allison Edmonds (@aedmondstv) August 4, 2021
The race could come down to the final day of the regular season between the Giants and Dodgers.
The Wild Card Bids
As mentioned, the NL West is going to send three teams to the postseason.
Two of those teams will land here in the Wild Card Game, and the other will head straight to the NLDS by winning the division.
Most likely, this Wild Card Game will be a matchup between the Padres and one of the Giants/Dodgers.
That will be appointment television.
With the exception of the NL East race, we have a pretty good feel for which teams are going to make the postseason.
Here’s a quick summary:
- NL East: Mets or Phillies
- NL Central: Brewers
- NL West: One of the Giants/Dodgers/Padres
- Wild Card: Whichever two teams out of the Giants/Dodgers/Padres don’t win the division
It should be an electric year of postseason baseball, and October is getting closer and closer.
The Dodgers are the betting favorites right now to repeat as World Series champions.