National League playoff races set to come down to the wire

Clayton Kershaw could possibly be in line for his third Cy Young award and hopes to pitch the Dodgers into the postseason. (©GettyImages)

It is nearly impossible to predict how the National League playoff picture will look at this point in the season. There are many possible outcomes and several teams that have a legit shot to win a division title and earn a playoff birth or compete in a Wild Card game at the seasons end. 

The Nationals, Braves, Brewers, Cardinals, Pirates, Reds, Giants and Dodgers are all teams among these wild National League division races at this point in the season.

The state of play in the East

Washington currently leads the National League East division, holding just a one game lead over Atlanta, who was in control of the division for most of the first half of their season, but had their lead taken from them by a surging Nationals team that got its young superstar Bryce Harper back just a few weeks ago.

Atlanta has dealt with many injuries this season, especially with its pitching. The Braves lost starters Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy before the season began, along with one of their top relief pitchers in Johnny Venters as well. Washington, on the other hand, have a solid starting rotation led by their ace Stephen Strasburg. Along with Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmerman, and Doug Fister have all done a tremendous job in helping the Nationals take over first place in the East.

NL West as it stands

The National League West has and most likely will be controlled by two teams. Both the Giants and Dodgers are tied atop the division. San Francisco got off to a hot start early on in the season and once held the best record in baseball.

The Dodgers have kept pace with San Francisco behind what may be the best starting rotation in the majors, led by arguably the best pitcher in the game, Clayton Kershaw. It is likely that the West will come down to the final days of the regular season, and could be the tightest race in baseball.

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NL Center is anyone's division

The National League Central race is completely up in the air. Milwaukee leads the division, but by the slimmest of margins. St. Louis is just a half game back of the Brewers, along with the Pirates who are 2 1/2 games back, and the Reds sit in fourth place just 3 1/2 back.

Milwaukee has led the division for most of the season, but the division continues to get tighter. 

With eight teams all battling for and opportunity to win a division title, or compete for a wild card game, it is sure to make for a great finish to the end of baseballs regular season.

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