Race to the Playoffs

Race to the Playoffs

By Jay Sorgi. CREATED Aug 11, 2014 - UPDATED: Sep 19, 2014

Entering late Friday night, here's how the Milwaukee Brewers and National League playoff picture breaks down:

National League Central race

1st place : St. Louis Cardinals (86-68)
- Next series: Cincinnati (Sat-Sun)

The Cardinals have built a nice cushion in the NL Central, and control their own destiny ahead of Pittsburgh.

2nd: Pittsburgh Pirates (83-70, 2.5 games behind)
- Next series: Milwaukee (Sat-Sun)

The Pirates have climbed back into the division race after nearly being eliminated, but they still have some work to do.

3rd: Milwaukee Brewers (79-74, 7 games behind)
- Next series: at Pittburgh (Sat-Sun)

The Brewers play all division opponents for the rest of the season, starting with three games against Cincinnati during the weekend.

Race for NL's best record (among division leaders)

1st place: Washington Nationals (89-64)
- Next series: at Miami (Sat-Sun)

The NL East champs hit the road, as they look to gain home-field advantage this postseason.

2nd: Los Angeles Dodgers (88-66, 1.5 game behind)
- Next series: at Chicago (Sat-Sun)

Like Washington, the Dodgers are on the road this week in their quest to clinch the league's best record.  They already own a playoff berth.

3rd: St. Louis Cardinals (86-68, 3.5 games behind)

(The team with the NL's best record has home field advantage in the NL playoffs and faces the NL wildcard game winner in the division series.  The division winner with the second-best record has home field advantage in the division series and faces the other division winner.)

NL wildcard race

1st place: San Francisco Giants (84-68)
- Next series: at San Diego (Fri-Sun)

The Giants are in the most advantageous position in the wildcard race, but have work to do to catch up to the Dodgers in the NL West.

2nd: Pittsburgh Pirates (83-70)

3rd: Milwaukee Brewers (79-74, 4.5 games behind)

4th: Atlanta Braves (76-77, 7 games behind)
- Next series: New York (Sat-Sun)

The Braves are falling, and they're doing so very quickly.

(The teams with the two best non-division-winning best records play in a one-game wildcard playoff, with the team with the best non-division-winning record hosting.)