NL Central Race Determines Dodgers First Round Fate

The Los Angeles Dodgers clinched their second consecutive NL West division title on Wednesday, and as they play their final three games against the Colorado Rockies, the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals of the NL Central will determine the Dodgers first round fate.

St. Louis leads Pittsburgh by one game in NL central with three games remaining in the regular season. The Cardinals final three games are against the Arizona Diamondbacks as the Pirates finish their season against the Cincinnati Reds. The winner of the NL Central at the end of weekend will be penciled in as the Dodgers first round matchup, when the five-game series begins on Oct.3rd, at Dodger Stadium.

Los Angeles and St. Louis have history; The Cardinals eliminated the Dodgers from last year’s dance in the NLCS. A six game series summed up by a 95 MPH fastball to Hanley Ramirez’s ribs, and Michael Wacha’s changeup.

In 2014, the Dodgers have a 4-3 record in seven meetings with the Cardinals. The teams matched up in a four game series in late June at Dodger Stadium, where the Dodgers took three out of the four games. Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw earned wins in the final two games, respectively. The other Dodgers win belongs to Brian Wilson, but more importantly, the Cardinals ace, Adam Wainwright took the loss. In July, St. Louis took two of three from Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium. The losses came at the hands of Dan Haren and Zack Greinke.

The Dodgers 2-5 record against the Pirates in 2014 is a bit concerning. The two teams met for a four game series in Los Angeles back in late May, with the Pirates winning three of the four games. Josh Beckett, Brandon League and Greinke were at the wrong end of three losses. Hyun-Jin Ryu had the Dodgers lone win in the series. The next three meetings in Pittsburg didn’t go in the Dodgers favor either. Paul Maholm and Haren took two losses while Ryu beat the Pirates, again.

Pittsburgh has won 17 of their last 21 games.

October baseball is different, where the stakes are higher and the crowds are bigger. The Dodgers no longer have to worry about the San Francisco Giants behind them but scoreboard watching might still be in play with the NL Central yet to be decided.

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