MLB Picks: National League Wild Card Landscape

Doug Upstone

Wednesday, September 17, 2014 6:40 PM GMT

Wednesday, Sep. 17, 2014 6:40 PM GMT

With the days to the baseball season dwindling to a dozen or less depending when you read this, those working the betting odds are finding clarity for generating MLB picks.

In this article, we will present FanGraphs.com chances of making the postseason for each squad; check their remaining schedule and current state of affairs.

 

San Francisco – 98.4% Chance to Make Playoffs
For all intents and purposes the Giants blew their golden opportunity to gain ground on Los Angeles in the NL West race. After a super opening salvo in winning Game 1 of their series at home 9-0, they were immediately destroyed 17-0 the next day by the Dodgers and faced the grim task of facing Clayton Kershaw in the series finale and of course lost.

The Giants figuratively still have a chance but have to close the gap to two games between now and next Monday when they will open a three-game set at Dodger Stadium.

Before than they have to take care of their business against Arizona and San Diego on the road, where they have a 41-33 record and been a solid wager versus the MLB odds at +11.7 units.

When reflecting on the season, San Francisco can only blame themselves with a 27-22 record against three very mediocre teams in their division, which reside below them in the standings.

At this time the Giants hold a two-game lead to host the Wild Card contest and would have to go into a real tailspin to be caught by Milwaukee.

 

Pittsburgh – 80.9% Chance to Make Playoffs
Posting a 5-1 record in the last week has enhanced the Pirates chances of returning to the postseason for a second straight year by 20 percent.

With San Francisco faltering since last Friday, Pittsburgh has been able to close the gap to two games and still has five home games remaining and they are the third-best play for sports picks at home, up +10.6 units with a 47-29 record.

When you think about this race over the next week, with the Pirates outstanding record at home and the Giants on the road versus division teams they have not performed well against, the Bucs have a real opportunity to take this to the final days.

Pittsburgh can make the whole situation easier on themselves by blasting Milwaukee in their final home series of the year. Sweeping or winning that series should mean no more looking over their shoulder and they can focus solely on catching the Giants.

 

Milwaukee – 23.5% Chance to Make Playoffs
The Brewers went stale at the wrong time to fall from first to third in the NL Central. After being respected by baseball handicappers and sportsbooks for nearly two-thirds of the season, Milwaukee went flatter than a Miller Lite left open overnight.

While the Brewers predicament is hardly rosy, they have various aspects they can control. It starts with screwing up the Cardinals plans of thinking they will be division champions again and defending their National League crown right now.

The absolute worst Milwaukee can do is winning the series, with a sweep preferred. This is followed up by a trip over to Pittsburgh and anything less than winning three times in the Steel City would sure seem to seal Milwaukee’s fate.

After dropping 13 of 14, the Brew Crew is attempting to pull off a late revival by taking five of six and can only hope to go 5-1 or 6-0 by Sunday evening and see where they stand.

It is from far from ideal conditions for Milwaukee, but when this is what you have to work with, you can only try and make the best of it.

 

The Final Word
In conclusion, when considering your MLB picks, note the San Francisco Giants and Pittsburgh Pirates look to be in the playoffs, with the Pirates having a legit shot to overtake the Giants for home field. Milwaukee has a puncher’s chance and little else. Atlanta and several other NL teams are still mathematically alive, but have a very faint pulse.

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