Tha Sports Junkies 101

NL Wild Card Race

NL Wild Card Brad McDermott/Via


It’s the Dodgers. No, it’s the Cardinals. Wait, the Giants. Hold on, the Mets.

The NL Wild Card race is anything but clear and calm. Just last week, four or five teams were eligible to make a comeback and close the gap on the other four.

With the season drawing near the end, the New York Mets held the first spot at the beginning of Tuesday night. While the struggling San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals were tied for the second spot.  However, just like my first statement, it seems things are changing all the time.  Going into Wednesday’s games the Mets, Cards and Giants are all deadlocked in the Wild card race with records of 80-71.

If you want to consider them, the Miami Marlins are five games back. Though it is unlikely they’ll come back this late in the season, anything can happen; it is September baseball.

New York Mets

Just last week, the Mets were trailing the Cardinals in the race, just two games behind. Now, the Mets are tied for the first Wild Card spot. And they are most likely going to stay.

After ace Jacob deGrom was shut down for the rest of the season, many saw the streaking Mets cooling down and handing off the second spot to the Cardinals. But, in fact, they did the exact opposite.

With the ace out, the many young pitchers the Mets have have stepped up and filled his shoes just fine.

With the third ace Noah Syndergaard leading the way, the ageless wonder that is Bartolo Colon following, and the return of potential fourth ace Steven Matz later in the week, the Mets seem fine, rotation wise.

That hot offense lead by Yoenis Cespedes, Neil Walker and Jay Bruce should just not mess up. If they continue to put the numbers they have been putting up as of late in the playoffs, their plan to avenge their loss last year should stay in tact

The middle relief bullpen is still a bit shaky, but that should not be a problem as the Mets are the most likely to lead the charge on October 5.

St. Louis Cardinals

With the numerous injuries that has affected the Cardinals organization, I am actually surprised to see them still in the running. Imagine how shocked I am to see them possibly taking the second Wild Card spot over the Giants.

When I predicted the 2016 playoffs, I presumed the Giants would take the first Wild Card spot. Now, leading the league in blown saves, it will be hard for the Giants to close. Which leaves the door wide open for the Cardinals.

They can be seen as a team to make the Wild Card with the solid(ish) rotation and bullpen lead by veteran Adam Wainwright and closed by, surprisingly dominant, Seung Hwan Oh, the offense and defense seems to be the only question. If the Cardinals can keep their current starters healthy, they could very well make the playoffs, but it will be a tough uphill battle for them to go any further.

To beat the Mets, they should jump on Syndergaard early and expose that questionable middle relief. If they do that and the bullpen can hold off the hot Mets, they might just sneak out of Queens with a victory. Like before, though, continuing will be a rigorous uphill battle.

San Francisco Giants

Two weeks ago, it was obvious the Giants would take the first spot. Last week, many doubted they would get home-field-advantage in the Wild Card game. Today, we see the Giants season slowly slip away from them.

With a major league leading 28 blown saves, the Giants will try to forget about this horrific stat.

That offense has also been slumping, somewhat. They seem to have lost the fire and will to continue scoring because of that bullpen is giving them the mindset of ‘no lead is safe.’ And that’s a lot of pressure for any offense.. That’s the thing about baseball; it’s contagious.

Once that back-end bullpen figures out how to dominate again, that offense will have a reason to score more.

The Giants picked the wrong time to enter a cold slump, but hey, that’s baseball. You never know what happens.

The team once predicted to win the holy grail of baseball is now most likely going to lose their Wild Card spot to the Cardinals.


As the Giants continue to struggle, the Mets losing two to the Braves and Cardinals still with games against the Cubs, who knows about the outcome of the NL Wild Card race. The last two weeks of the season seem to be set up for a good ending to the 2016 regular season.

If the Mets wish to continue beyond the Wild Card game, they must strengthen their middle relief and keep their back-end bullpen dominante. They should also try everything they can to keep that hot offense hot.

If the Cardinals want to beat the Mets in the Wild Card game, they should attack Syndergaard early to get to that shaky Mets middle relief. And contain star slugger Yoenis Cespedes. To continue their season, they must keep their remaining healthy players healthy and ready to compete.

If the Giants want to make the Wild Card and continue beyond, they must figure out what the hell is wrong with that not good record setting back-end bullpen. They should also resurrect that offense before it disappears.

Stay tuned because it’s about to get interesting.