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NL Playoff Picture Update: Brewers can still get in with a loss

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It’s win and you’re in for the Brewers, but there’s still a path to the postseason if they fall on the season’s final day

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at St. Louis Cardinals Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Over the course of the last week, the Brewers controlled their own playoff fate, then lost that control and needed help.

They have, thankfully, gotten that help, and now the scenario is pretty simple — beat the Cardinals on Sunday afternoon, and you’re in the postseason for the third year in a row — a franchise first.

We’ll have all winter to debate whether or not that playoff spot “counts,” given the expanded playoff field and the fact the Brewers never once went over .500 during the regular season, but that doesn’t change the math for today.

The math is the same for the Cardinals, who were in line to clinch a playoff spot on Saturday night before Brandon Woodruff and Josh Hader tossed a 2-hit shutout.

Standings

NL Playoff Picture - 9/27/2020

Seed Team (Place-Division) W L PCT
Seed Team (Place-Division) W L PCT
1 Los Angeles (1-W) 42 17 0.712
2 Atlanta (1-E) 35 24 0.593
3 Chicago (1-C) 33 26 0.559
4 San Diego (2-W) 36 23 0.610
5 St. Louis (2-C) 29 28 0.509
6 Miami (2-E) 30 29 0.508
7 Cincinnati (1-WC) 30 29 0.508
8 Milwaukee (2-WC) 29 30 0.492
San Francisco 29 30 0.492
Philadelphia 28 31 0.475

The Brewers can still get in with a loss today, but that would require more help. There are a coupe different scenarios laid out by the league this morning — but the main point is the Brewers need the Phillies and Giants to lose again. That’s certainly plausible, considering it’s already happened this weekend, but it’d be tempting the baseball gods.

The basics to know:

If the Brewers lose, the Giants lose, and the Phillies win, the Phillies take the last playoff spot.

If the Brewers lose, the Phillies lose, and the Giants win, the Giants take the last playoff spot.

If the Brewers lose, the Phillies lose and the Giants lose, the Brewers take the last playoff spot.

At least there’s one less team to worry about — the Mets were officially eliminated on Saturday, ending the Wilpon era with a fitting wimper.

On the note of seeding — second place in the NL Central, and thus the 5th or 6th seed in the NL bracket — is still up for grabs. The Brewers’ win over the Cardinals on Saturday clinched the division title for the Cubs, but the Reds and Cardinals can still fight for 2nd place.

At this point, it doesn’t appear the Brewers can win the 2nd spot, even if there’s a three-way tie at .500. One of the tiebreakers is record within the division, which the Brewers can only top out at 20-20 with a win today. Both the Reds and Cardinals already have 21 division wins.

A reminder on the Cardinals’ possible doubleheader — one or both of those games will only be played if they’re necessary to determine who gets into the tournament — not if they’re only necessary for seeding. As of now, the scenario that forces that would be if the Brewers and Giants both win — in that case, it would be the Giants’ fate up in the air.