Time to update our post from last week, 51 Games Left and Counting Down.
The Nationals have 46 games left and their Magic Number to win the division is 38. If they just go .500 the rest of the year, that is 23 more wins. The Marlins, who have 45 games left, would have to go 32 and 13 to overtake the Nationals. And the Mets have an even tougher road ahead to win the division. Again, if the Nats play .500 ball from here on out, the Mets would have to go 34 and 11 for the rest of the season.
Barring something incredible, the Marlins and the Mets best chance to make the post-season would be as a Wild Card team.
The Cubs are almost a sure-fire lock to win the Central Division; while the Giants and Dodgers are both in the hunt to win the West with the 2nd place team competing for the Wild Card.
The Cubs also have to be the favorite to have the best record in the National League (as well as all of MLB). Since they won the season series with the Nationals, their Magic Number for home field advantage should the Cubs and Nationals meet in the NLCS is 42.
So lets take a look at the remaining schedules for these teams, along with the Cardinals and the Pirates who also have a good shot at making the post season as Wild Card teams.
Just as we did last week, lets collapse this table to show how many games each of these teams have left against teams that are above/below .500 so far this year.
|TEAM||Below .500||Above .500|
It looks like the Dodgers, who are only a game behind the Giants have the advantage if you just look at their remaining games. The 9 games between these two teams will be key (as Nationals fans know from painful experience last year in the Nats games against the Mets).
And just as we did before, lets calculate a weighted average of the winning percentage for the opponents of these teams and use that percentage to project the total number of wins by the end of the season. Clearly, lots of assumptions here. And since all of these teams are all above .500, this might be an underestimate.
Unlike the table above which is ordered alphabetically by the team acronym, this one is ordered by the total number of projected wins (most wins to least wins).
|TEAM||Below .500||Above .500||Opponent Weighted Win %||WINS||PROJECTED||TOTAL|
The big picture view suggests that the Cubs and the Nationals have to be odds-on favorites to win their respective divisions and hopefully meet in the NLCS. In fact, it appears that the Nats have a better shot at home field advantage over the Cubs than either the Giants or the Dodgers have of home-field advantage over the Nats.
The Cubs 11 games against the Brewers and the Nationals 10 games against the Braves may be the key to home field advantage in the NLCS.
But as we all know, there is a reason they actually play the games!