Not only are the Los Angeles Dodgers pulling away in the NL West race with their magical August, but they're also putting pressure on America's darling Atlanta Braves for the top spot in the National League.
LA's 1-0 win over Future Dodger Willy Adames and the Milwaukee Brewers Thursday evening snuck them up to 10.5 games ahead of the idle Giants and their +12 run differential. San Francisco, of course, still remains firmly in the Wild Card race, and a couple of wins this weekend -- against the Braves -- would go a long way towards sending the Dodgers closer to the No. 1 seed in the playoff bracket.
As of this writing, only four games separate the Dodgers from Atlanta, but being the second-seeded division winner is hardly slouch-worthy either. That would still leave Los Angeles waiting and resting for the winner of the No. 3 vs. No. 6 Wild Card matchup.
MLB Playoff Bracket if season ended today: Dodgers await NL Central?
If things hold ... that could be quite lovely, considering Manny Machado is no longer involved.
No. 1 Baltimore Orioles vs. Winner of No. 4 (Tampa Bay Rays) vs. No. 5 (Houston Astros)
No. 2 Texas Rangers vs. Winner of No. 3 (Minnesota Twins) vs. No. 6 (Toronto Blue Jays)
No. 1 Atlanta Braves vs. Winner of No. 4 (Philadelphia Phillies) vs. No. 5 (San Francisco Giants)
No. 2 Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Winner of No. 3 (Milwaukee Brewers) vs. No. 6 (Chicago Cubs)
That Cubs/Brewers best-of-three would be a barnburner, and should garner the majority of the unbiased public's rooting interest. The Brewers are more theoretically talented than the Cubbies, but Chicago has the offensive and electricity advantages; you'd rather the No. 3 seed take care of business, if you're the Dodgers.
The Phillies knocking out the supposed juggernaut Braves two years in a row would really be something, huh? So would Justin Verlander and the Astros getting a chance to face Max Scherzer and the Texas Rangers in the ALCS.
Lots of potentially combustible series await us, but the Dodgers are in prime position to relax before snapping back into Domination Mode. Hopefully, the seeding stays the same, honestly; being No. 2 seems to be the more favorable draw.