The NATIONAL LEAGUE PLAYOFF ANALYSIS is a comprehensive one-stop stat checker for the National League Playoff picture and Wild Card chase. 2012 is proving to be the closest wild card chase in history and things are just starting to get interesting. Our in-depth research and analysis of a team’s approach in the 2012 Playoffs provides current standings, division leaders, Wild Card chase analysis, upcoming schedules, predictions, statistics, and synopsis. Updated each morning reflecting the fluid changes of the current battle raging within three divisions across the National League.
We welcome comments or personal opinions regarding a team’s progress and playoff approach. Don’t waste your time surfing multiple websites for the information you need, we have crunched the numbers, had a few pots of coffee, and compiled all your needs right here on Spoke Bait and the Game. Check in daily for up to the minute statistics up the last game of the 2012 regular season.
NL East- Washington (89-54)
NL Central- Cincinnati (87-57)
NL West- San Francisco (81-62)
(-) Atlanta 81-63
(-) St. Louis 75-68
(-1.0) L.A.D 74-69
(-2.5) PIT 72-70
(-3.0) Milwaukee 72-71
(-3.0) Philadelphia 72-71
Home/away opponent (# of games in series); Total W-L record against opp. (W-L record against opp. In home/away series.)
* SCHEDULE DIFFICULTY RATING 1 TO 10, 1 BEING EASY, 10 BEING DIFFICULT
Wild Card #1: Atlanta Braves-
Wash. (3); 5-10 (1-5)
@ Miami (3); 9-3 (5-1)
@Philadelphia (3); 10-5 (5-1)
Miami (3); 9-3 (4-2)
N.Y. M. (3); 10-5 (5-1)
@ Pittsburgh (3); 2-2 (2-2)
SCHEDULE DIFFICULTY RATING: 4.0
(ESPN) CHANCES OF MAKING PLAYOFFS: 98.8%
SYNOPSIS: Substantial WC lead, no west coast travel for the remainder of season, the only major hurdle is an early 3 game series hosting the Nationals; ATL is 1-5 at home against the Nationals and the remaining series are against teams that ATL has great records against both home and away. ATL looks to hold onto the #1 WC spot for the rest of September and could threaten the Nationals for the NL East title.
Wild Card #2: St. Louis Cardinals-
@LA D. (4); 3-4 (0-3)
Houston (3); 6-3 (3-0)
@Chicago C. (3); 8-6 (2-4)
@Houston (3) 6-3 (3-3)
Wash. (3); 1-2 (N/A)
Cincinnati (3); 6-6 (2-1)
SCHEDULE DIFFICULTY RATING: 6.5
(ESPN) CHANCES OF MAKING PLAYOFFS: 55.3%
SYNOPSIS: A lot of travels against teams STL have had trouble putting away. LA, just 1.0 game behind, will be battling for a WC spot and it will start with STL. STL will have to gain ground on the Astros when they have the chance as facing the Cubs at Wrigley is no sure thing with a 2-4 record. STL will get lucky if Nationals and Reds clinch and rest starters near the end of the season. This day in 2011 STL was 4.5 games back in the WC chase.
(-1.0) LA Dodgers-
St. Louis (4); 4-3 (3-0)
@Washington (3); 3-0 (N/A)
@Cincinnati (3); 2-1 (N/A)
@San Diego (3); 8-5 (3-1)
Colorado (3); 7-8 (4-2)
San Francisco (3); 6-9 (2-4)
SCHEDULE DIFFICULTY RATING: 8.0
(ESPN) CHANCES OF MAKING PLAYOFFS: 20%
SYNOPSIS: Though just 1.0 game behind, it might as well be 10; LA has toughest schedule to OCT; kicked off by a WC battle with STL. LA flies to the capital for a 3 game series with Nationals and don’t expect WSH to be resting starters quite yet. The same applies when LA comes into CIN. The remainder of LA’s schedule is far from easy, topped off by a divisional game in LA against SF who should have clinched by this point, especially with SF walk-in-the-park schedule. This day in 2011 LA was 12.0 games back in the WC chase.
(-2.5) Pittsburgh Pirates-
@Chicago C. (4); 6-6 (2-1)
Milwaukee (3); 4-8 (1-2)
@Houston (3); 11-3 (3-1)
@N.Y. M. (4); 1-2 (N/A)
Cincinnati (3); 7-9 (4-3)
Atlanta (3); 2-2 (N/A)
SCHEDULE DIFFICULTY RATING: 7.0
(ESPN) CHANCES OF MAKING PLAYOFFS: 9.5%
SYNOPSIS: With minimal travel, PIT has a fairly doable schedule; but they are going to have to prove they deserve to be in OCT. Coming off 3 tough losses in CIN, the Bucs will need to gain ground on CHI and HOU if they want to fight off the chasing Brewers, who they haven’t been very good against. If the Bucs can’t break free in the first 3 series, count them out. Even if CIN is in rest mode, don’t count on an easy W, the same applies against the #1 seed ATL.
(-3.0) Milwaukee Brewers-
N.Y.M. (3); 1-1 (N/A)
@Pittsburgh (3); 8-4 (2-1)
@Washington (4); 1-3 (N/A)
@Cincinnati (3); 5-7 (1-5)
Houston (3); 8-6 (5-1)
San Diego (3); 3-3 (2-1)
SCHEDULE DIFFICULTY RATING: 7.5
(ESPN) CHANCES OF MAKING PLAYOFFS: 7.1%
SYNOPSIS: With minimal travel, MIL has a good chance of getting close to a WC spot. With the likely hood of overtaking the Bucs and considering LA’s tough schedule, MIL could be challenging STL for the spot, dictated by the STL/LA series. MIL hosts the Mets then rolls through the division against PIT, CIN, & HOU. CIN won’t be kicking back just yet and MIL has a great home record on HOU, but it might not mean much after a four game series with the Nationals.
(-3.0) Philadelphia Phillies-
@Houston (4); 3-0 (N/A)
@N.Y.M.(3); 6-10 (3-3)
Atlanta (3); 5-10 (1-5)
Washington (3); 7-5 (4-2)
@Miami (3); 8-7 (2-4)
@Washington (3); 7-5 (3-3)
SCHEDULE DIFFICULTY RATING: 5.5
(ESPN) CHANCES OF MAKING PLAYOFFS: 1.5%
SYNOPSIS: With a bit of travel, PHI has a lot of work to do. PHI isn’t the team they were first part of the season and the above records don’t accurately reflect their potential. Regardless, if PHI can capitalize in HOU before going into a tough series in Brooklyn, followed by a home stand against division rivals ATL, PHI could be in trouble. Though playing WSH twice, the Nationals should be resting starters by their second series early in OCT. Bottom line, if PHI can take a series from either WSH or ATL, we may see an interesting post season. If2011 has taught the baseball world anything, it comes down to being in the chase today, and getting hot tomorrow; this could be the 2012 Phillies.
Can the NL Division Leaders be caught?
Washington Nationals (+8.5 ATL):
@Atlanta (3); 10-5 (5-1) L.A. D. (3); 0-3 (N/A)
Milwaukee (4); 3-1 (N/A)
@Philadelphia (3); 5-7 (2-4)
@St. Louis (3); 2-1 (N/A)
Philadelphia (3); 5-7 (3-3)
SCHEDULE DIFFICULTY RATING: 9.0
(ESPN) CHANCES OF MAKING PLAYOFFS: 100%
SYNOPSIS: Even with phenom super-star Bryce Harper riding on a unicorn, hitting for the cycle can’t guarantee the Nationals future; while those Nationals do have a cushy 8.5 games on the WC favorite Atlanta Braves. ATL has one of the gentler schedules ahead of them and the Nationals may have one of the toughest. Washington’s schedule contains five teams all battling within a 3.0 game gap for a WC spot. Each team that the Nationals encounter, home or away, will be playing with everything they have and then some. The Nationals will most likely win their division, but things could get interesting within the next six series. Don’t forget about Strausburg getting shutdown?
Cincinnati Reds (+11.5 STL):
@Miami (3); 2-1 (N/A)
@Chicago C. (3); 9-4 (5-2)
Milwaukee (3); 7-5 (5-1)
@Pittsburgh (3); 9-7 (3-4)
@St. Louis (3); 6-6 (1-2)
SCHEDULE DIFFICULTY RATING: 6.5
(ESPN) CHANCES OF MAKING PLAYOFFS: 100%
SYNOPSIS: CIN magic number is currently 8, and with an 11.5 game lead over STL, who have a tough schedule ahead of them, don’t count on the Reds getting caught. Though CIN has a tough schedule packed with division rivals, three of which are in the WC chase, CIN can go ahead and order the champagne and safety goggles.
San Francisco Giants (+7.0 L.A. D.):
@Arizona (3); 5-4 (2-1)
Colorado (4); 10-4 (3-2)
San Diego (3); 8-4 (4-2)
Arizona (3); 5-4 (3-3)
@San Diego (3); 8-4 (4-2)
@L.A. D. (3); 9-6 (4-2)
SCHEDULE DIFFICULTY RATING: 3.5
(ESPN) CHANCES OF MAKING PLAYOFFS: 99.3%
SYNOPSIS: The NL West belongs to the Giants; September schedule is a walk-in-the-park. Their only real speed bump may be playing ARZ at home and carrying a 5-4 record over the D-backs. The Giants have won every series they have played against San Diego this season and don’t expect them to slow down now with only a 7.0 game lead over LA. Depending on how well LA plays during their tough schedule, the Giants may have to use their starters early in OCT, but we assume that the outcome of OCT 3 game series between the division rivals will be irrelevant, at least for San Francisco.
The MAGIC NUMBER:
How to figure out your teams magic number? First, a team must be in first place to have a magic number, second, use this simple formula:
163-1st place team wins- second place teams losses=magic number
Example: 163 minus Washington Nationals 89 Wins minus Atlanta Braves 63 Loses. (163-89-63=11)
When a team’s magic number reaches 1, they have clinched a tie for the division, and a magic number of 0, the team is the division champion.
NOTE: A team’s magic number can NEVER increase, only decrease, as all teams start the season with a magic number of 163 (162 games plus 1).