Playoff Race Update: Pirates Clinch the Playoffs

The Pirates have clinched the playoffs. (Photo Credit: David Hague)

The Pirates have clinched the playoffs. (Photo Credit: David Hague)

The Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Chicago Cubs in dramatic fashion tonight. Not long after, the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Washington Nationals, which led to the Pirates clinching the playoffs. It would have been better if the Nationals would have won, since that would have moved the Pirates closer to first in the NL Central. But now the playoffs are official. The Pirates still have a shot at the division, but no matter what they’re going to the post-season. Below are the updates for each race.

NL Central

Cardinals 4, Nationals 3

Pirates 2, Cubs 1

Reds 3, Mets 2

All three teams won tonight, so nothing changed. The Cardinals still hold a two game lead in the NL Central.

The magic number for the Cardinals is four.

Wild Card

Cardinals 4, Nationals 3

Pirates 2, Cubs 1

Reds 3, Mets 2

The Pirates and Reds both clinched the playoffs thanks to wins, and the loss by the Nationals. The two teams remain tied. In the event of a tie, the tiebreaker for home field in the Wild Card game would be the season head to head record. That will be decided this weekend when the two teams meet. There’s still a chance one of them could take the NL Central, but that grows smaller with each Cardinals win. Also, the Cardinals play the Cubs over the weekend, which is a big advantage.

Playoff Seeding

Brewers 5, Braves 0

Cardinals 4, Nationals 3

The Cardinals moved to within half a game of the Braves thanks to their win and the loss by Atlanta. Los Angeles was off, but moved up half a game. They are now two back from the top overall seed. Nothing changed from yesterday to today.

1. Atlanta

2. St. Louis

3. Los Angeles

4. Cincinnati/Pittsburgh

Tim Williams

Author: Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/chris.fennig Chris

    Tim,

    Have you noticed any change with Melancon? Last month he was doing a great job with the 8th and closing, and now he seems to have some sort of trouble every time he’s out there. Is it a matter of innings pitched, being this late into the season? Is it the league adjusting to him? Or is it something else? He still looks great, but has been struggling (at times) recently.

    • http://www.facebook.com/faye.zbuksukcz Faye Zbuksukcz

      Melancon’s fine, unless he’s losing confidence in his defense at this point. His location is fine, he’s hitting his spots. San Diego made some nice adjustments going oppo with weak flares. So Mark probably needs to not stay on the outside low corner every pitch to RHBs. But in 2 of the 3 he did exactly what was needed but the defense (including himself last night) failed. Still have no idea wtf Pedro was doing cheating in so far that allowed that grounded to get by him.

      Anyway, right now I’m actually hoping they’re tied going into Sunday. The Reds have never seen Cole. Let’s see what the kid is made of with everything on the line. Should be fun.

      Heading up to Wrigley today for next two games, with battle flag.

      • leadoff

        I disagree, I think Melancon has lost his edge and he is up more than he needs to be, I realize he has made some good pitches that balls found holes, a lot of it is the outfield defense and their placing the outfielders in no doubles defense that is far too deep, this has been happening a lot lately. Melancon like Grilli has lost velocity, he no longer has that 94-95 that he had early in the year, 93 is not 94-95. His pitches up are getting hit, he also does not have the break on his cutter that he had early in the year either.
        If there was time to rest him I would do it, but at this point in time, he needs to be a one or two hitter pitcher, much like Grilli should be, I would do away with the setup/closer mentality at this point and manage hitter to hitter.

        • http://www.piratesprospects.com/author/admin Tim Williams

          Most of the pitches that Melancon throws are low and away. There’s a reason why he’s a big ground ball pitcher.

          • smurph

            Low and away is good. Up and in is good. Up and away or middle and away with the cutter are not good pitches to RH hitters

      • smurph

        Faye, I will be there on Wednesday. It will be my son’s first major league game.