Finally, another NL team has clinched its playoff spot, with the Nationals claiming the NL East. The Nationals beat the Pirates late last night, and then waited to see the outcome of the Mets’ game against the Phillies. The Mets lost, so the Nationals clinched.
The Dodgers’ magic number to clinch the NL West is just one, so they’ll probably clinch today, too. When they do, the division winners will be set, and the Dodgers will project to play those Nationals in one NLDS series, while the Cubs play the Wild Card winner.
That race remains topsy turvy, of course. With the Mets losing, the Cardinals beating the Cubs, and the Giants beating the Padres, the Mets fell back into a tie with the Giants, though both teams are still 0.5 games ahead of the Cardinals.
Each team will wrap up its current series today, with tonight’s Cubs/Cardinals game holding a great deal of importance to the Cardinals. And to the Cubs, of course, just not for their playoff chances; tonight’s is the final home game of the year, and it is also Jon Lester’s penultimate start as he looks to keep pace in the Cy Young race.