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MLB Standings: Nationals' Magic Number Is 18

The Washington Nationals might have a healthy lead on the pack, but they're sprinting to the finish line. Up 7.5 games on the Atlanta Braves, the Nats have reeled off five straight after sweeping the Cubs and are looking for more as they turn their attention to the last place Marlins.

The NL East is more or less locked up: with 25 games left, the Nats' magic number for a division victory and the team's first playoff bid since the move to Washington is 18. The second-place team, the Braves, is fine with that, as they have a five-game lead in the hunt for a Wild Card berth. The main drama left in the season seems to be who will earn the second berth amongst the Cardinals, Pirates, and Dodgers - and of course, the battle Washington's Mid-Atlantic neighbors down the road in Baltimore have on their hands for the AL East lead with the New York Yankees.

Here's a peek at the NL East standings before Friday night's games:

NL East Standings

Washington 85 52 .620 0 Won 5
Atlanta 78 60 .565 7.5 Won 2
Philadelphia 66 71 .481 19 Won 1
New York 65 72 .474 20 Won 1
Miami 61 77 .442 24.5 Won 1

(updated 9.7.2012 at 8:57 AM CDT)

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