The New York Mets currently are in the top National League wild-card spot, in position to host the game next Wednesday.
But they have gone just 5-5 over their last 10 games and even with three blowout wins (10-5, 17-0 and 12-1) in that span, they’re working with a pitching staff that really has only two solid starters (Noah Syndergaard and Bartolo Colon).
The San Francisco Giants currently hold the second wild-card spot.
But they have lost 10 of their last 16 and just got shut out by the Rockies.
And yet, they stand just one game behind the Giants.
The survivor of all of this, the eventual winner of the wild-card game, gets to face the Cubs in the division series a week from Friday. From the Cubs’ standpoint, a three-way tie in which all the teams have to burn their best pitchers and bullpens would be optimal.
Here’s what the teams have remaining on their regular-season schedules.
The Mets are off Thursday; they have a three-game series against the Phillies at Philadelphia beginning Friday night. The Mets are 10-6 against the Phillies so far this year, and 4-2 in Philadelphia. Syndergaard and Colon will start two of those games, so the Mets would seem to be in pretty good shape.
The Giants complete their series against the Rockies Thursday night, then host the Dodgers for a three-game set beginning Friday night. The Giants are 8-8 against the Dodgers so far this year, and 4-2 in San Francisco. The Giants have Madison Bumgarner going Friday, then will face Clayton Kershaw and Kenta Maeda Saturday and Sunday. The Dodgers do still have something to play for. As of Thursday morning they are two games behind the Nationals for home field advantage in their division series, and they hold the tiebreaker.
The Cardinals wrap their series against the Reds Thursday night. They are just 9-9 against the last-place Reds, but 4-2 in St. Louis. That might be important, as the Cardinals have an awful (for a contender, anyway) 34-43 record at home. They are the only team with an overall winning record to have a losing mark in their home park. The Cardinals then finish with a three-game series against the Pirates at home. They are 7-9 against the Bucs this year and just 1-5 against them at Busch Stadium. You can bet the Pirates would like nothing better than to knock the Cardinals out of the postseason. The Cardinals have Carlos Martinez scheduled to go on Friday and Adam Wainwright on Sunday; currently, they have "TBD" listed for Saturday.
It’ll be an interesting weekend. Right now, it looks like the Mets and Giants have the inside track, but you never know in baseball.
The poll attached to this post asks you which team you’d prefer the Cubs face in the division series, not the team you think will win the wild-card game.