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MLB Standings Update: Three Playoff Spots Locked Down, Bucs Playing For .500

The standings haven't been kind recently to the Pirates, and most fans have probably been ignoring them since the Bucs' 10-game slide a couple weeks back, but here's how things look in the NL Central after the Pirates' 2-0 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday.

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Brewers 78-54
Cardinals 67-62
Reds 63-65
Pirates 61-68
Cubs 56-73
Astros 42-87

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What looked like a four-team race a few weeks ago is now anything but, as the Brewers are coasting to the NL Central title. It'll take a Herculean effort from the Cardinals or anyone else to surpass them.

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The Atlanta Braves are 78-52 in the NL East, meaning that the NL Central's also-ran face an even tougher climb to get back in the Wild Card race than they do to pass the Brewers.

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Unfortunately, that means that with almost six weeks left in the season, there are already three virtual locks (the Brewers, Phillies and Braves) for four playoff spots. The only contested one is in the NL West, where the Diamondbacks lead the Giants by 2.5 games.

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Barring a very unlikely surge by the Rockies, Cardinals or someone else, the rest of the teams in the National League are playing for pride at this point. For the Bucs, a .500 season is still in sight, although with a recent spate of injuries, it's looking ever-tougher to reach.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.