ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 11: Tim Hudson #15 of the Atlanta Braves delivers a pitch during the game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on September 11, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by David Welker/Getty Images)
The Atlanta Braves have work to do to win the N.L. Wild Card. But if they do, history suggests they might make the World Series, too.
The Atlanta Braves are looking to win back-to-back N.L. Wild Card races, though they'll need to beat out the St. Louis Cardinals to repeat their feat from 2010. If they win, though, expect to hear this stat: the only two N.L. teams to win the Wild Card in consecutive seasons went to the World Series in their second go-rounds.
Atlanta's got an uphill road to earning the Wild Card berth — the Braves need to either win today against the Phillies and have the Cardinals fall to the Houston Astros or beat the Cardinals in a one-day playoff on Thursday — but would join the 1999/2000 New York Mets and 2004/2005 Astros as N.L. teams with consecutive N.L. Wild Card winners. The Mets bowed out to the Braves in the 1999 NL Championship Series, then lost to the New York Yankees in the 2000 World Series; the Astros fell to the Cardinals in the 2004 NLCS, then lost to the Chicago White Sox in the 2005 World Series.
The Braves, unlike their potential predecessors, didn't make the NLCS in the front end of the back-to-back: the eventual World Series-winning San Francisco Giants dispatched Atlanta in the N.L. Divisional Series round in 2010.
And as for teams that won the N.L. Wild Card in a one-game playoff — the 1998 Chicago Cubs, 1999 Mets, and 2007 Colorado Rockies — none went on to win the World Series, and only the Rockies made it that far.
For further reading, news, discussion and more on the NL Wild Card race, visit Cardinals blog Viva El Birdos and Braves blog Talking Chop. Check out Baseball Nation's AL Wild Card race and NL Wild Card race StoryStreams from Tuesday for more.