Playoff Race Update: Pirates Take The Lead For WC Home Field Advantage

Pedro Alvarez Pittsburgh Pirates
Pedro Alvarez knocked in three runs tonight in the 8-2 win over the Cubs. (Photo Credit: David Hague)

Last night the Pirates and Reds clinched the playoffs. Now the only races to watch are the NL Central race, and who will get home field in the Wild Card game. The Cardinals won again tonight as Michael Wacha came one out away from a no hitter. They kept their two game lead, and as outlined below, it will be hard to catch them in their final four games. The Pirates beat up on the Cubs, while the Reds lost to the Mets 4-2, with Vic Black getting his first career save. That combo puts the Pirates one game up in the Wild Card race for home field advantage.

NL Central

Cardinals 2, Nationals 0

Pirates 8, Cubs 2

Mets 4, Reds 2

The Cardinals retained their two game lead in the NL Central over the Pirates, and now have a three game lead over the Reds. The magic number for the Cardinals is three, and two against Cincinnati. Here are the records the rest of the way for the Pirates to clinch the division:

Pirates 4-0, Cardinals 1-3

Pirates 3-1, Cardinals 0-4

The only way the Pirates can clinch is if the Cardinals basically lose out and the Pirates win out. A tie seems like a scenario that could actually be possible. Here are the records to see the two teams tied for the NL Central.

Pirates 4-0, Cardinals 2-2

Pirates 3-1, Cardinals 1-3

Pirates 2-2, Cardinals 0-4

Keep in mind that the Cardinals have one game remaining against the Nationals (who have nothing to play for) and three this weekend against the Cubs. So going 1-3 or 0-4 might not be possible.

Wild Card

Pirates 8, Cubs 2

Mets 4, Reds 2

The Pirates took a one game lead over the Reds tonight for the top Wild Card spot. With the Nationals eliminated last night, these two teams will meet in the Wild Card game (unless one team wins the division, obviously). Tomorrow’s games could be huge. If the Pirates gain another game on Cincinnati tomorrow, then they would just have to win one game this weekend against the Reds to clinch home field in the Wild Card game. If that doesn’t happen, then there’s no scenario where the Pirates could get home field this weekend without taking at least two of three against the Reds.

Playoff Seeding

Braves 3, Brewers 2

Cardinals 2, Nationals 0

Dodgers/Padres In Action

The Braves and Cardinals both won, so the standings don’t change. The Dodgers are still playing their game against Padres, but there’s no way they can move out of third place.

1. Atlanta

2. St. Louis

3. Los Angeles

4. Pittsburgh

5. Cincinnati

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One thing I learned last night watching the game with the Cubs announcers is this: If we go into the reds series with a 1 game lead over the reds, that game ends up meaning absolutely nothing based on the tie breakers. Since the main tie breaker is head to head series and we are 8-8 coming into that series, A tie in the standings will give whomever wins 2 out of 3 in that final series. So other than to keep slim chances of winning the division, today’s game literally means nothing.


I think the Pirates still have a very good shot at the division title, if they pull to within one, could happen today, then anything can happen with 3 on the weekend, all they have to do is tie the Cards right now.

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