The Braves' Quest For October, Vol. 1

The Diamondbacks helped the Braves out last night with a 2-1 win over the Dodgers. - Norm Hall

Recapping all of yesterday's playoff contender action.

Today is the first day the Braves have been able to clinch the National League East title since 2005.

Eight long years since winning 14 in a row, and in just a few hours the boys could be hoisting a 2013 NL East Champions pennant as they soil the Nationals' clubhouse.

I'm excited.

With just a handful of games left on the schedule, the Braves are really playing for two things: the NL East, of course, and home field advantage. Their magic number to win the division is four.

Historically, having home field advantage hasn't really mattered too much, but with this club, they absolutely need to be playing as many games at Turner Field as possible. The Braves are 52-22 at home this season, which is, by far, the best mark in the National League. Compare that to their pedestrian 37-38 mark on the road and not much more really needs to be said.

As of Tuesday, the Braves hold a 2.5-game lead over St. Louis and Pittsburgh and a 3.5-game lead over Los Angeles. The Cardinals, Pirates and Dodgers all lost last night, dropping them to three, three and four games back, respectively, in the loss column.

Keep in mind, though, that Atlanta has the tiebreaker over all three teams due to head-to-head wins, so the lead for home field advantage is really 3.5 and 4.5 games.

As for the second wild card spot, the Reds are 4.5 up on the Nationals. Cincinnati isn't a threat to catch Atlanta for the best record, but there's a 50/50 shot the Braves will face them if they reach the Wild Card Playoff game. The NL Central race is going to be really fun the next 10 days or so.

Be sure to check back each morning as we update the playoff race.

Schedule for Tuesday

Braves: @ Nationals, 1:05 p.m., 7:05 p.m.

Cardinals: @ Rockies, 8:40 p.m.

Pirates: vs. Padres, 7:05 p.m.

Dodgers: @ Diamondbacks, 9:40 p.m.

Reds: @ Astros, 8:10 p.m.

NL East Standings

Atlanta 89 60 .597 0 Lost 3
Washington 79 70 .530 10 Won 1
Philadelphia 70 80 .466 19.5 Won 1
New York 67 82 .449 22 Won 2
Miami 55 95 .366 34.5 Lost 3

(updated 9.16.2013 at 11:01 PM MST)

National League Wild Card Standings

Pittsburgh 87 63 .580 0 Lost 1
Cincinnati 85 66 .562 2.5 Won 1
Washington 79 70 .530 7.5 Won 1
Arizona 76 73 .510 10.5 Won 3
Philadelphia 70 80 .466 17 Won 1
San Diego 69 80 .463 17.5 Won 2
San Francisco 69 81 .460 18 Won 3
Colorado 69 82 .456 18.5 Won 1
New York 67 82 .449 19.5 Won 2
Milwaukee 66 83 .442 20.5 Won 2
Chicago 63 87 .420 24 Lost 3
Miami 55 95 .366 32 Lost 3

(updated 9.16.2013 at 11:01 PM MST)

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