National League Playoff Standings: St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates Battle For NL Central As Cincinnati Reds In Wild Card Spot

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Sep 26, 2013 08:57 AM EDT
St. Louis Cardinals players Ryan Jackson
St. Louis Cardinals players Ryan Jackson (L), Jon Jay (C), and Shane Robinson celebrate their victory in their National League MLB baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in St. Louis, Missouri, September 8, 2013. "

The Cincinnati Reds are in the playoffs after clinching a playoff berth, but that is not the end for the team, as the Reds, St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates are locked in a battle to decide the National League Central division during the last week of the season.

The Reds are currently (as of Tuesday afternoon) tied with the Pirates for the Wild Card spot in the NL and both teams are already in the playoffs, but now it's about position heading into October. The Reds and Pirates are tied at two games back of the Cardinals in the division and Cincinnati will be playing against the New York Mets at home, giving them a chance to make up some ground.

The Reds are heading into the final week as one of the most consistent scoring teams in the league and the Mets already lost on Monday. The team is ranked ninth in runs and 18th in batting average and they ranks sixth in on base percentage and they could be a dangerous heading into the playoffs with Joey Votto. The Pirates clinched their first playoff spot in over two decades this past week and now they are playing the Cubs with a chance to move up as well.

The Pirates are back in the playoffs due to the play of guys like Andrew McCutchen and he could end up winning the NL MVP award after hitting over .315 with nearly 100 runs scored and plenty of other fine stats. The team has been different since he got there and this season has been a magical one. Despite the fact that the team is ranked 20th in runs and 23rd in batting average, they have been able to win close games and could be very dangerous come the playoffs due to their pitching staff.

The Cardinals have been one of the strongest teams in baseball this season and they have the chance to lock up the NL Central this week with a series against the Nationals. The team has been very consistent on offense and pitching the ball and the team has plenty of firepower to go around. The Cards rank third un runs scored and foruth in batting average in the league and they are also in the top three in on base percentage and could be very tough to beat come playoff time.

The NL should be very tough this season with the Cardinals, dodgers, Pirates, Reds and Braves in the playoffs and after the Giants won the World Series last season, it could be two in a row for the National League with one of these teams taking the crown.

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