2020 MLB Season: Simulating NL games, May 15-17

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Philadelphia pitcher Zach Wheeler. Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images.

Though it’s starting to look like the 2020 MLB season is now a matter of when not if, we continue simulating games. Here are the results for the NL.

The NL East and Central division leaders met for three games this weekend in Philadelphia, and neither one came away happy with the result.

The Central-leading Cardinals were unhappy because the host Phillies took two of three, reducing their lead over the Cincinnati Reds to a single game. The Phillies were unhappy because the Atlanta Braves swept the Giants in San Francisco, dropping the Phils into second place, one game behind the Braves.

Such is the state of all three NL division races: Coming up on 50 games into the virtual season, the largest divisional lead is one game.

The Phillies rode Aaron Nola’s seven strong innings to a 6-4 win Friday, Bryce Harper contributing a pivotal two-run home run off St. Louis starter Miles Mikolas. Harper’s fifth-inning home run following a Mikolas walk to Rhys Hoskins erased a 3-2 Cardinal lead.

The Cardinals got eight one-hit shutout innings from Jack Flaherty Saturday and won 4-0. Flaherty struck out eight and allowed only Logan Forsythe’s single before John Gant covered the ninth inning. Paul Goldschmidt’s fourth-inning home run gave Flaherty all the offense he needed.

But Zach Wheeler gave the series edge to Philadelphia with a 5-1 win over Dakota Hudson Sunday. Wheeler allowed just five hits, one of them being Harrison Bader’s third-inning home run. Hudson only allowed two hits in his six innings. But he also walked seven, turning those two hits into four runs.

In the NL West, Los Angeles went to Kansas City and swept the Royals, forging a dead tie with the Arizona Diamondbacks, who took two of three from Washington in Phoenix. Beyond the Braves’ sweep in San Francisco, the Chicago Cubs took three straight in San Diego, giving them a 3-1 win in that four-game series.

The Miami Marlins took two of three from Colorado in Miami, and Pittsburgh won two of three from the Mets at Citi Field.

The Reds took three of four in the continuation of their six-game series with the Milwaukee Brewers. That series concludes Monday.

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