The NL Wildcard race 2021 is one for the ages, but not exactly for the best reasons. As of now, it seems like no one wants to take that second wildcard spot.
Taking a look at the current National League playoff picture, it’s pretty clear that the NLCS will most likely be Giants vs Dodgers. Apparently, all other teams are either unable or unwilling to make the most of their chances.
NL Wildcard Race 2021
So, let’s take a look at the NL wildcard standings to try and determine which team really has a chance to make the playoffs.
Not so long ago, the New York Mets were nearly at the top of the NL wildcard standings. Then, in usual Mets fashion, they started to free-fall. It seems like not even a new ownership and adding Javier Baez was enough to shake their recent woes.
— New York Mets (@Mets) September 15, 2021
The Mets’ pitching has gone ice cold, and their bullpen has been even worse. At this point, they should just shut down Jacob deGrom for the season rather than risk him reaggravating his injury on a lost cause. That’s sad, given he was poised for another NL Cy Young award.
Right now, it doesn’t seem like the Mets have enough firepower in them to make a last-minute run and get that second wildcard spot. On top of that, they might lose Baez in free agency and the fans don’t seem to like Francisco Lindor that much.
It’s the same old story with the Philadelphia Phillies. They made some big-name signings, made some moves, yet they just can’t stop losing when it matters the most. As of now, they’ve dropped back-to-back games against winnable rivals.
Bryce Harper has had an impressive year and so has J.T. Realmuto. Other than that, the Phillies’ bats have been pedestrian, to say the least. But their biggest issue, without a question, has been their bullpen; which has ranked near the bottom of the pack since day one.
RT if you think Bryce Harper will win NL MVP this year
Joe Girardi hasn’t found any answers and the team doesn’t have the personnel to shake their woes off at this point in the season. Once again, it’ll be too little, too late for them, but at least they’re not that far off from being a contender.
The Cincinnati Reds looked poised to take a step forward in the NL wild card race 2021, then they lost 3 in a row. They were the most consistent team among those listed here and had the best pitching staff as well, but they suddenly fell off.
Tyler Mahle has been far from the reliable starter he was in the first half of the season. Luis Castillo, on the other hand, couldn’t keep up the momentum he had when he finally started being in control of his pitches. It’s hard to win in MLB when you don’t have a reliable rotation.
— Bally Sports Cincinnati (@BallySportsCIN) September 11, 2021
The Reds, nonetheless, still have a solid offense that can get hot in the blink of an eye. They just need to find some consistency. So, if they stop shooting themselves in the foot again, they might as well make it to the wild card round.
The San Diego Padres are the walking example of the National League playoff picture. They were incredibly hyped entering the year, yet they haven’t been able to string wins together in quite some time, even dropping five straight games.
Fernando Tatis Jr. looks like a generational talent but he’s gone ice-cold since returning from the IL. Manny Machado has also struggled to get on base, and they have the body language of a team that knows they don’t have what it takes to win right now.
The Padres’ biggest issue of the season was pitching, as neither Yu Darvish nor Blake Snell lived up to expectations. Given their injuries and the way their rotation looks right now, they’re not championship material, but they still have the biggest shot at the wild card.