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NL Wild Card Standings: Cards, Braves, Pirates, Dodgers Separated By 1.5 Games Heading Into The Weekend

As the St. Louis Cardinals begin this weekend's three-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers, they won't only be looking to gain ground on the N.L. Central leading Cincinnati Reds, but they'll try to distance themselves from the Los Angeles Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates, who trail them by just 1.5 games in the NL Wild Card race.

They'll have their hands full this weekend, as the Brewers (who are wrapping up a largely disappointing 2012) have won seven of their last 10 games. The Cardinals have 12 of their 25 remaining games at home, but the most crucial series remaining might be a Sept. 13-16 series in Los Angeles against the Dodgers.

The Atlanta Braves, who sit atop the N.L. Wild Card standings, just fattened up on the lackluster Colorado Rockies by taking three of four games from them in Colorado earlier this week. They open a three-game set on Friday against the New York Mets, who, like the Brewers, have won seven of their last 10 games. The Braves will only play nine of their 24 remaining games at home, and provided the Pirates don't collapse in September, will finish the 2012 season with a three-game series in Pittsburgh which could have serious Wild Card implications.

The Pirates are battling the lowly Chicago Cubs this weekend, while the Dodgers are squaring off against their NL West rivals, the San Francisco Giants.

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