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The Tigers might play a key role in the NL playoff race

This weekend’s series against the Brewers may decide an NL Central winner

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at St. Louis Cardinals Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

This postseason is shaping up to be one of the strangest races in recent memory. With a relatively weak showing from many of the National League teams — both the Yankees and Athletics will have better records than any of the NL division winners — and super tight races in the AL Central and AL West, no one has a clear idea of just what the postseason will look like yet.

Which means the Detroit Tigers, playing in their final series of the year, could be a big part of deciding which NL Central team clinches the division, and which team will have to play for their lives in the Wild Card game.

As of right now the Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago Cubs have both secured a place in the playoffs, but with the Brewers a mere one game back of the Cubs and three games left in the season, it truly could go either way. And the Brewers will playing host to the Tigers this weekend. The Tigers and Brewers don’t meet often, but in their last 10 meet-ups, they are split 5-5.

The Tigers have lost their last two games this week, while the Brewers have won their last four, meaning Milwaukee obviously feels like they’re in a good position to use these games to their advantage. The Tigers are expected to use Jordan Zimmermann, Daniel Norris, and Spencer Turnbull as their pitchers. Zimmermann will be hoping to finish his season with a .500 record if he can collect the win on Friday, while Norris and Turnbull will each be hunting for their first win of the season.

Meanwhile the Chicago Cubs will be facing their division rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals — a team still hoping to get their own playoff nod.

Should the Los Angeles Dodgers, go on a losing skid this weekend, and the Cardinals best the Cubs, we could see three of the five NL Central teams heading to the postseason. As of right now, the only National League team to have clinched their division is the Atlanta Braves. The Cubs and Brewers are the only other teams to know for sure they will be playing ball in October. The remaining race is between the Rockies and Dodgers in the NL West (like the Brewers and Cubs, the Dodgers are only one game back of the Rockies).

The National League postseason picture is going to come down to the wire this year, and the Brewers will be counting on the Tigers to help them make the final push for NL Central glory.

The Cubs, meanwhile...