While the American League has yet to see a team clinch in any of the divisions coming into play today, almost every spot is locked up in the senior circuit — every spot but one, that is. The second Wild Card berth, in its first year of existence, may just be the focal point of some very late season drama. After a big win last night that featured two Matt Kemp homers, the Dodgers were able to pull within two games of the St. Louis Cardinals with four to play.
At this point, the odds still heavily favor the Cardinals, whose odds of reaching post-season play currently sit at 91.7 % compared to 8.1 % for the Dodgers. Obviously, another game made up today would significantly alter the landscape, but the Cardinals are by and large a team that still controls their own destiny. Los Angeles, winners of six of their last eight games, will have to keep winning to apply pressure, but ultimately each St. Louis win is devastating at this juncture.
Ironically, both teams have a chance to decide their season’s fate based on how well they play in the last series of the year against the team they’re looking up at within their own division. After finishing a three-game set against the team with the game’s best record (Washington) today, the Cardinals will stay home and battle the Reds for the final three games of the season. The Dodgers, meanwhile, will finish a three-game set against the Rockies today before hosting the Giants for their season concluding series.
The Cardinals and Dodgers last met in a four-game series in mid-September, with each team taking two games. This is a race that could get very interesting as long as the Dodgers don’t give up any more ground from this point.