The NL West race is the tightest in baseball with the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers tied for first place as of Aug. 14. One of baseball's best rivalries just keeps getting better.
The Giants and Dodgers were also the most competitive with each other before the July 31 trade deadline, as both teams made flashy, headline-grabbing deals. The Dodgers may have acquired more players, but they arguably had more holes to fill in order to keep pace with the Giants.
Neither team seems likely to pull away during the final months of the regular season. Adding more drama to the race is the possibility that the Dodgers or Giants will have to win the NL West to make it to the postseason. The wild card may not provide a safety net, as the Atlanta Braves and Pittsburgh Pirates currently hold those two coveted extra playoff spots (albeit by a 1.5 game lead).
With such a close race, one or two players could end up being the key difference for their respective teams during this dogfight for a playoff spot. Who will give their clubs the edge during August and September? Here are six names whose success or failure will determine who wins the NL West.