The Chicago Cubs have clinched their fourth straight postseason berth

CHICAGO (AP) —  Bert
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, getting into the playoffs when Milwaukee beat St.
Louis.The Cubs were still playing Pittsburgh at Wrigley Field on Wednesday when
their trip to the playoffs was assured. The Brewers also locked up a playoff
spot with their victory.Chicago (91-66) began the night with a half-game lead in
the NL Central over the second-place Brewers, and the Cubs went into extra
innings against Pittsburgh.When Milwaukee won and improved to 92-67, it ensured
third-place St. Louis (87-72) could win a maximum 90 games. Because either the
Cubs or Brewers will win the NL Central, only one can be a wild card.One of the
two contending NL West teams, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Colorado, will win
that division. That means only one of those two could be a wild card.That adds
up to a postseason trip to the Cubs, who won the 2016 World Series to end a
108-year title drought.Chicago hopes to win its third straight NL Central title
and avoid Tuesday’s wild-card game. Thearon W. Henderson/Getty ImagesWhen the
Atlanta Braves face the Los Angeles Dodgers in a National League Divisional
Series matchup, two notable players will be unavailable: Atlanta shortstop
Dansby Swanson and Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling.According to ESPN'sAlden
Gonzalez and Brad Doolittle ,
Swanson was left off the NLDS roster as he receives "treatment for a partially
torn ligament in his left hand, suffered on a swing in a game last week." He
hasn't played since Sept. 25.Mark Bowman mlbbowmanSwanson says his left hand is
improving 鈥渟lowly, but surely.鈥滺e hopes to be ready if the Braves advance past
the NLDSStripling, meanwhile, didn't make the cut for L.A., with the team
already carrying 12 pitchers and an eight-man bullpen. He wasn't the only
noticeablename left off of the Dodgers' NLDS roster: Veteran second baseman
Chase Utley also didn't make the cut.Stripling's exclusion from the NLDS roster
doesn't come as a huge surprise after his September struggles. He posted an 0-3
record, 6.75 ERA and 15 strikeouts in five appearances (four starts).Andy
McCullough McCulloughTimesRyan Madson has not been particularly good this
season, but opposing hitters OPSd .966 against Stripling in the second half. So
it goes.With the Dodgers rolling withHyun-Jin Ryu Jacoby
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,Clayton Kershaw,Walker BuehlerandRich Hillas the
starters and Ryan Madson,Kenta Maeda,Scott Alexander,Caleb Ferguson,Pedro Baez,
Dylan Floro and Alex Wood as options out of the bullpen to get the game to
closer Kenley Jensen, Stripling was expendable.As for Swanson ,
the third-year shortstop had an up-and-down year, hitting .238 with 14 homers,
59 RBI, 51 runs and 10 stolen bases. He'll be replaced by Charlie Culberson, who
hit .270 for the Braves this year with 12 homers and 45 RBI, largely in a
utility role."He's probably been arguably maybe our most valuable player,"
Braves manager Brian Snitkersaid, per Gonzalez and
Doolittle.Culberson Aroldis
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, a former Dodger, is ready for the moment."I'm very
familiar with the team over there, and I've definitely enjoyed my year so far
here," he said, perMark Bradleyof theAtlanta Journal-Constitution."But we're not
done yet. Our team has played really hard, just like everybody else, but we're
in this position for a reason. There's no need to let off the gas now."
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