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Dodgers, Giants battling for one spot

The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants were both picked by most experts to make the playoffs throughout spring training.

Los Angeles has a bevy of talent both in the rotation and the lineup, with men such as Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Adrian Gonzalez, Yasiel Puig, Howie Kendrick and others. Meanwhile, San Francisco was coming off a third World Series title in five years behind the masterful pitching of Madison Bumgarner along with clutch hitting from Hunter Pence and Buster Posey.

Flash forward to the evening of Aug. 29 (Giants have already lost, Dodgers in progress), and it appears only one of these teams is going to be playing in the National League playoffs. While there is still more than a month remaining in the Major League Baseball regular season, the NL is shaping up to have the New York Mets representing the Eastern Division, while the Central will be won by the St. Louis Cardinals.

The wild card appears all but sewn up barring a collapse down the stretch by the Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs, who are respectively 79-49 and 73-54. In the West, the Giants are trailing the Dodgers by three games, with records of 71-56 and 69-60. If the season ended today, San Francisco would finish five games off Chicago’s pace.

Despite being in second place, San Francisco is arguably in the better position. The Giants have dealt with a brutal August schedule and come out relatively clean on the other side. Bruce Bochy’s club has endured series with the Cardinals, Cubs, Pirates and Washington Nationals with a tomato can in between. In September, the only team that the Giants face with a winning record is the Dodgers, and that is a four-game series at AT&T Park.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles kicks off the month with a 10-game road trip that takes them to the San Diego Padres, Los Angeles Angels and Arizona Diamondbacks. While none of those teams are terrific, none are complete jokes. There is also a home series against the Pirates along with the aforementioned four games at San Francisco. The schedule is not daunting by any means, but it is much harder than the Giants’ slate.

The Hunt for October is going to be a hotly contested on in the West. San Francisco and Los Angeles are two teams that could make serious runs in the postseason, but it appears only one is going to get the chance it so desperately covets. The two teams have seven games remaining against each other, including a three-game series at Chavez Ravine on Aug. 31. If one can win five of those games, the balance of power will be massively shifted.

There is nothing quite like a tremendous pennant race between two heavyweights.

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