MLB National League Triple Crown, Two Division Titles Up for Grabs in Dramatic Sunday Season Finale
Posted on: September 30, 2018, 10:00h.
Last updated on: September 30, 2018, 10:24h.
After 161 MLB games, one dramatic Sunday in the National League will settle two division races and possibly produce the league’s first Triple Crown winner since 1937.
Milwaukee outfielder Christian Yelich will be at the center of the baseball world on Sunday – his Brewers are tied for the NL Central lead with the Cubs (both teams have identical 94-67 records) and he has a legitimate opportunity to end the season as the National League leader in home runs, RBI, and batting average.
The last National League player to lead the league in all three of those statistical categories was Joe Medwick, who won the Triple Crown for the St. Louis cardinals in 1937.
Late Season Push
Yelich, the current odds on favorite to win the National League’s Most Valuable Player award, positioned himself to win the Triple Crown with a massive Saturday afternoon.
The Brewers’ star outfielder hit two home runs, including the go-ahead homer in the seventh inning, and drove in three runs. The two home runs gave him 36 on the year, tying him with the Cardinals’ Matt Carpenter for the league lead in the NL.
With a .324 batting average he has a comfortable 13-point lead on the next closest batter and will certainly win the NL batting title. Yelich will need at least two more RBI on Sunday if he wants to take home the crown – after driving in three runs on Saturday his 109 RBI are two behind league leader Javy Baez (111), who also plays his final regular season game on Sunday.
The National League MVP will almost certainly go to either Yelich or Baez. Even before Yelich’s frantic push for the Triple Crown this weekend, he was listed as the favorite according to Bovada.
As of September 27, the online sportsbook listed Yelich at EVEN odds to win the MVP and Baez at +135. After those two it’s the Rockies’ Nolan Arenado (+550), Carpenter (+700), and the Diamondbacks’ Paul Goldschmidt (+850).
If the award does go to either Yelich or Baez it will be a spring training upset. Before the season Yelich was 200/1 to win NL MVP and Baez was more than a 500/1 longshot, according to the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook.
NL Division Crowns Still Up For Grabs
More significant than statistical milestones is how the NL playoff picture will ultimately look.
Major League Baseball could not have scripted Sunday any better. Both the Cubs and Brewers will play their final game of the season simultaneously to see who will be the NL Central champion.
Likewise, the same scenario is playing out in the NL West. The Colorado Rockies and the Los Angeles Dodgers, tied atop the divison, each take 90-71 records into the final game of the year.
If ties in the NL Central and West divisions remain after Sunday, one game tiebreakers to determine the division winners will be played. In that scenario, the Cubs would host the Brewers if necessary, and the Dodgers would host the Rockies on Monday afternoon.
All four teams, along with the Atlanta Braves, constitute the NL’s five playoff teams. It remains to be seen which two teams will have to play in the one game Wild Card playoff.
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