With only six games left to play, the St. Louis Cardinals hold a 3-game wild card lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Milwaukee Brewers, whose playoff surge has apparently abated, remain four games back of the Cardinals. Philadelphia and Arizona have faded , and now sit 6 games out. As it stands entering this weekend's series, the Cardinals' magic number is four.
St. Louis' playoff position is far from certain, though. The Cardinals start a three-game series with the NL East-leading Washington Nationals Friday, and follow that with a three-game set against the NL Central leaders from Cincinnati. All six games will be played at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, which could give the Cardinals the slight edge they need.
The Dodgers, who were tied with St. Louis just 10 days ago, have now fallen off the pace and will need to win at least three of their last six games if they are to capture the second wild card spot. Los Angeles plays three against Colorado before closing the season with a three-game series against the rival San Francisco Giants.
The Brewers, who sit four games behind St. Louis after Thursday's loss to the Reds, may have the easiest remaining schedule of the contenders. Milwaukee has three games against the cellar-dwelling Houston Astros this weekend, and close with three against San Diego. They will need to win five of those six games and hope for some help from the Cardinals, though.