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National League Playoff Picture: Arizona Diamondbacks outlook

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PHOENIX, AZ - SEPTEMBER 14: Adam Rosales #9, Jake Lamb #22 and Gregor Blanco #5 of the Arizona Diamondbacks celebrate after closing out the MLB game against the Colorado Rockies at Chase Field on September 14, 2017 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - SEPTEMBER 14: Adam Rosales #9, Jake Lamb #22 and Gregor Blanco #5 of the Arizona Diamondbacks celebrate after closing out the MLB game against the Colorado Rockies at Chase Field on September 14, 2017 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
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With the Washington Nationals and the Los Angeles Dodgers having already clinched postseason berths, the Arizona Diamondbacks are next

Following the win over the Colorado Rockies on Thursday, the Arizona Diamondbacks are eight games away from clinching a postseason berth.

However, the playoff picture is anything but set.

Coming for the Best Record

The Dodgers currently hold the best record in the National League, which means the winner of the Wild Card game might face the once-unstoppable Dodgers (94-52).

But, the Nationals are chasing them. At 89-57, the Nationals are just five games behind the Dodgers for the best record. The difference is that the Nationals have won seven of their last ten, while the Dodgers have lost eight.

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Both teams are guaranteed to make the postseason already, but they face off this weekend in a three-game series. The Dodgers used both Clayton Kershaw and Yu Darvish to stop the bleeding while facing the San Francisco Giants, but they also won’t be facing Max Scherzer or Gio Gonzalez.

The Undetermined N.L. Central

On the other hand, the Chicago Cubs are currently leading the N.L. Central, but for how long? They start an important series against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Both the Milwaukee Brewers and the St. Louis Cardinals remain three games behind the Cubs in their division and 2.5 games behind the Rockies in the Wild Card.

The Cardinals are 8-2 in their last ten games, while the Brewers are 6-4 and the Cubs are only 5-5. A sweep could eradicate the Cubs lead and murk up the N.L. Central’s playoff picture altogether.

The Almost-Set N.L. Wild Card

Regardless of the N.L. Central, the Wild Card probably won’t change. The Diamondbacks are in San Francisco for a three-game series and the Rockies will host the San Diego Padres.

These are divisional matchups and should not be underestimated, but with the N.L. Central still battling each other, the Rockies and Diamondbacks should hold on to their spots.

If the season ended today, the Diamondbacks would be hosting the Rockies at Chase Field for the one-game showdown. But, is the N.L. West even set?

Taking the N.L. West

There’s still hope. It’s a longshot, but it’s still there.

The Dodgers have not clinched the N.L. West. Where they once held a 21-game lead, there are now only 9.5 games separating the Dodgers from the Diamondbacks.

This weekend could see that shrink even further to 6.5 games. Despite their once-commanding lead in the division, the Dodgers could end the season much closer to their division rivals.

Much closer doesn’t mean the Diamondbacks will take the division, but it should worry the Dodgers. If they manage to hold onto the best record, they could very well face the Diamondbacks in the NLDS.

In 11 of their 19 matchups this season, the Diamondbacks have come out on top. Those aren’t the odds the Dodgers want to face, but their other options are the 2016 World Series champion-Cubs and the Nationals looking for redemption after the 2016 NLDS loss.

With around 15 games left in the regular season, anything could happen.

The best record has not been determined. No matchup is set.

But, come Monday, we could have clarity.

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