Five teams for two spots? What to make of NL wild-card madness

AP Photo/Darryl Webb

There are only two weeks left in the 2023 MLB season, and that means it's time to expect the unexpected in a chaotic race to the finish.

For instance, the Atlanta Braves and Miami Marlins met for a three-game series of contenders and, not surprisingly, one of the teams blistered the ball all weekend long, scoring nine, 11 and 16 runs to sweep the series. Except it was the Marlins who did this -- the same team that had scored just five runs in its previous four games and still ranks next to last in the National League in runs scored even after hitting .387 and belting 10 home runs in the three games.

The Braves may have been suffering from a division-clinching hangover, so call it fortuitous timing for the Marlins. The sweep moved the Marlins into a tie with the Chicago Cubs for the third and final wild-card spot.

Speaking of the Cubs ... wait, let's just check in on this whole NL wild-card picture.

We're going to put the Philadelphia Phillies in the postseason (along with three division winners: the Braves, Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Dodgers). Philly seems fairly entrenched in the top spot -- not because it's ripping the cover off the ball or anything, as it's just 4-6 in the past 10 games, but because none of the teams below the Phillies have made a run to chase them down.

That leaves five teams battling for two spots. Let's take a look at where each club stands.