No doubt about it, things are heating up in the NL.
The Diamondbacks, Marlins, Giants, and Reds are all tied for the 3rd wild card spot with a little less than a month to go in the regular season.
All 4 teams have been on roller coasters this year: very high highs and very low lows.
Only the D-backs were in the playoff picture at the beginning of June out of these 4 teams. Fast forward two months (August) and the Giants and Reds surged while the D-backs and Marlins were on the outside looking in.
As it stands now, these 4 teams are neck and neck, racing to the finish line. The equation is simple; whoever wins the most games from here on out gets their ticket punched to the postseason.
Ironically, all 4 teams have had similar success when you look at their past 10 games. This season, the D-backs and Reds have been led by their young offenses while the Giants and Marlins have been carried by their stellar pitching staffs.
For the D-backs, rookie Corbin Carroll has been sensational. In 132 games this season, he has 24 HRs, 66 RBIs, 41 steals, and an OPS of .885. Out of all MLB players, he is 13th in WAR (Wins Above Replacement).
For the Marlins, second baseman Luis Arraez has been chasing history. For the majority of the season, Arraez's batting average danced around .400. It currently sits at .356 which to no surprise, leads the MLB.
His elite ability to get on base has helped create runs for a Marlins offense that struggles to knock them in.
For the Giants, ace Logan Webb has been the backbone of the pitching staff. He has tossed the second-most innings in the bigs, is 10th in WHIP, and his strikeout-to-walk ratio is 3rd in all of baseball.
If the Giants sneak into the playoffs, they can feel safe with this guy on the hill for game 1.
Last but not least for the Reds, rookie Matt McLain has led a dangerous offense. In 89 games, McLain has 16 HRs, 50 RBIs, 14 steals, and an OPS of .864. De La Cruz is the talk of the town in Cincy, but McLain has been all around more consistent. Don’t be surprised if you see him in the mid-summer classic in 2024.
Each team has defined leaders that will help push with all their might for the postseason. But one thing those players can’t control is their team's remaining schedule.
When it comes to remaining schedule strength, the Reds have it easiest and the Marlins have it the worst. Out of all 30 MLB teams, the Reds have the 25th hardest strength of schedule. The D-backs have the 22nd, the Giants have the 16th, and the Marlins have the 5th.
Your D-backs have a favorable schedule moving forward. They have a 3-game home set against the struggling Rockies (50-86 record), a 4-game away series against the Mets, and a 6-game road trip featuring the Yankees and White Sox.
It’s now all up to them, how will they respond?