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A Diamondbacks fan's guide to the playoff races

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We're into the last three weeks of the season now. While we're not technically out, an elimination number of five means we could be done during this series in San Francisco. So, who might we want to reach the playoffs in our stead?

Mitchell Layton

National League West

  • Dodgers, 81-62: D-backs used = Dan Haren
  • Giants, 3 GB: D-backs used = Tony Abreu, J.C. Gutierrez, Yusmeiro Petit, Dan Uggla

The tendency of the Giants to do well in even years is still somewhat alive, but it looks like they are more likely to be a wild-card entry to the post-season. As well as being three back, they have a slightly tougher schedule the rest of the way than the Dodgers; however, there are still six head-to-head games remaining, and if they can go 4-2 there, it will end up being close down the stretch. I think I speak for most D-backs fans when I say, I'd rather have the Giants win the division, rather than the Dodgers. But that's their only job, and if they can't do that, then I would be entirely happy to see San Francisco fail miserably.

National League Central

  • Cardinals, 79-64: D-backs used = Randy Choate
  • Pirates, 4.5 GB: D-backs used = None
  • Brewers, 5 GB: D-backs used = Zach Duke, Lyle Overbay, Gerardo Parra

I'm fairly happy with seeing St. Louis pull out a strong second-half push, mostly because I don't have much love for Pittsburgh or Milwaukee. The latter will be tainted, for as long as a certain Mr. Braun is on their roster, though the presence of two well-liked former D-backs, in Overbay and Parra, does work in their favor. I've gone severely off the Pirates this year, particularly due to some of the horrendous shit talked by their fans after our encounter with them earlier in the season. Since they made the post-season last year, they no longer count as lovable underdogs, and are more like the Red Sox post-2004.

National League East

  • Nationals, 80-61: D-backs used = Mike Rizzo (GM), Matt Williams (manager), Adam La Roche, Scott Hairston, Zach Walters
  • Braves, 7 GB: D-backs used = Chris Johnson, Dan Uggla, Justin Upton, Emilio Bonifacio

This one looks just about all over, bar the shouting. Washington are more like Arizona East, and their success gives me hope for the future. Before 2012 they had seven straight seasons after their move to the capital without a winning record, but are now an apparent powerhouse, through smart moves and good drafts. The Braves are basically in a dead-heat with the Pirates and Brewers for the second wild-card spot, with only half a game covering the three sides, so it could be anyone's race. My personal choice of those three would probably be the Brewers, but I'm not enormously excited by any of the contenders.

American League West

  • Angels, 88-55: D-backs used = Jerry DiPoto (GM), Tony Campana, Collin Cowgill, John McDonald, Tyler Skaggs, Joe Thatcher
  • Athletics, 7.5 GB: D-backs used = Bob Melvin (Manager), Alberto Callaspo, Ryan Cook, Adam Dunn, Evan Scribner
  • Mariners, 9.5 GB: D-backs used = Willie Bloomquist, Cole Gillespie

Right now, both AL wild-card spots go to this division, though Detroit are only half a game back of Seattle. Oakland have been struggling mightily of late, and the four-game lead they had less than a month ago has evaporated as they have gone 8-17 since then (you know how bad we've been of late? That's the same record as Arizona over that time). I've no problem with any of these teams; might be nice to see the Mariners make the post-season, as they've had some wretched years of late. Their last playoff campaign was 2001, when they won 116 games, but couldn't get past the Yankees. Though that was probably for the best, not sure we would have beaten them over 7 games.

American League Central

  • Royals, 79-62: D-backs used = Pedro Ciriaco
  • Tigers, 2 GB: D-backs used = Max Scherzer
  • Indians, 5.5 GB: D-backs used = Trevor Bauer, Bryan Shaw, Zack Walter

But if you want a playoff drought, try Kansas City, who haven't been to the post-season since 1985 - 21 members of their current roster weren't even born when that happened. So, you have to feel for their fans, who must be feeling a mix of delight, anticipation and fear, that this will be merely the set-up to a spectacular meltdown - as noted above, winning the division may be the only guaranteed route in. Detroit are in the same boat: no strong feelings about them, though Scherzer is a plus. I was quite surprised to see Cleveland still hanging on in there, though with their playoff odds currently estimated at 7.3%, they're pretty fringey.

American League East

  • Orioles: 83-59: D-backs used = Buck Showalter (Manager), Kelly Johnson, Joe Saunders
  • Yankees: 9.5 GB: D-backs used = Chris Capuano, Stephen Drew, Kelly Johnson, Brandon McCarthy, Vidal Nuno, Martin Prado, Chaz Roe, Chris Young
  • Blue Jays: 10 GB: D-backs used = Cole Gillespie, Bobby Korecky, Nolan Reimold, Sergio Santos

Yep, Baltimore, look set fair for their first division title since before the Diamondbacks had played a single major-league game. They can only be thanked for their part in a post-season which looks likely to be both Yankee and Red Sox free for the first time in division series history, so over two decades. But, damn, if there haven't been an awful lot of familiar names popping up in the Bronx this season. Admittedly, their production has been...variable, and the fact the Yankees have used the likes of Roe perhaps explains why they'll very likely be sitting home in October. And in Toronto, I discover that Bobby Korecky is still apparently (just) on the major-league radar...

So, who will you be cheering for down the stretch?