When August began, the Mets were in first place in the National League East, the fifth-best record on the senior circuit. The Padres were right in front of them, holding a second wild card position as the Giants and Dodgers battled to the top of the West. And the Reds, though seven and a half games behind Central Milwaukee, stood four games behind San Diego, in the playoff debate.
Except for a dramatic turn of events, no one will be able to play-off. Atlanta has previously taken command, the other three teams San Diego, and Cincinnati have passed, although there are still four games in the second wild card, the Cardinals now have less than two weeks to fill that gap. In line for the third trip.
New York, San Diego and Cincinnati all have reasons to regret the past two months. Together, they are composing a historic multi-team fall.
The fourth, fifth and sixth-ranked teams in their league overall standings at the end of July are set to be the main contenders for October.
In the National League two years ago, all three teams were injured in the play-offs, and the third-placed breed behind Los Angeles and Atlanta were torn apart. The Nationals have won the World Series. That year in the American League, Tampa Bay and Oakland lost to Cleveland for the final wild card as Houston, New York and Minnesota led their divisions in the last two months.
Like the last time the three teams in late July, the Mets, the Padres, and the Reds all missed the playoffs? Technically, it happened in 2015, when the Angels, Twins and Orioles all failed to reach the postseason, but Baltimore was 52-50 and Toronto was 53-51 on the morning of August 1 of that year, a virtual tie.
This is for the era of two wild-card teams. Before that, you have to go back to 2009, when the Angels fled with the American League West, the Yankees and Red Sox topped the East and took the wild card, and the Tigers with a 53–4 record in the league’s sixth four months – central with the Twins A game for the title closed their way to 163, which they lost in the Metrodome.
In the national league? The last time something like this happened was in the incredibly bizarre 2005 season, when the 4-6 teams from July were the Nationals, the Marlins and the Phillies, respectively, none of whom were in the play-off spot at the time because each team had a .500 in the West. The Padres eventually won that division in Division 2-80, which would have been a better game than the previous last place Florida.
No weird split is happening this time, and now there are two wild cards. This is one of the funniest ways that the Mets, Padres, and Reds have played down the stretch.
The Mets are 17-30 from the end of July. The only teams that have suffered the most damage since that time are the Diamondbacks, the Nationals and the Orioles. The Mets have the same record as the Pirates, a team that made October T-time reservations in the first week of April. But it wasn’t just the Matts ’terrible game. They have been outsourced to just 2 runs where they are 1 game below .500. It’s impossible to lose as much as there are intimate games, but that’s what the Mets do for you, discovering new ways to lose forever.
For San Diego, it’s a lot easier. A team that had 2.87 employees in April and 2.69 employees in May, followed by 4.23 in June, 4.70 in July, 4.44 in August and 5.63 in September. The Padres have conceded 94 runs in 17 games this month, as they did in April, when they played 27. April.
For the Reds, their wailing has been a standard fall at its worst. The Reds have not won a series since the Marlins’ four-game sweep ended on August 22 and put Cincinnati in the second wild-card spot. They lost two out of three in Milwaukee, three in Miami, two out of two Cardinals and three at the Tigers’ home, two out of three in Chicago, three out of four in St. Louis, two out of three in Pittsburgh and then two. Three in the house of the dozers. It’s bad, of course, but having eight of their last 10 games against the Pirates and Nationals means the Reds still have a chance to go west and be eliminated by a pretty good team in the playoffs.
Despite the four-game deficit, the Cardinals will remember that they are Cardinals, perhaps too late to do anything but the biggest stretch-run fall of all three teams at the same time in this era of baseball.