MLB postseason picture: Dodgers punch ticket to expanded October, will White Sox follow?

Mark Townsend
·Yahoo Sports Contributor
·4 mins read

We’ve reached the home stretch of Major League Baseball’s 60-game season and there’s a lot left to sort out. Between now and the start of the postseason, we’ll keep you updated on all the latest developments.

The Los Angeles Dodgers have punched their ticket to Major League Baseball’s expanded postseason.

It took a 7-5 victory against the San Diego Padres and help from the Oakland Athletics and St. Louis Cardinals to do it Wednesday, but the Dodgers have officially secured their eighth straight playoff appearance.

The Dodgers will now look to make it eight straight division championships as well. Wednesday’s win gives them a 3.5-game lead with 10 games left to play. Their magic number to clinch the NL West is seven.

Despite their recent regular season success, L.A. has been unable to achieve the ultimate goal of winning the World Series. Their last championship parade took place in 1988. This club is well-equipped to take the leap in 2020 thanks to a loaded starting rotation and the addition of former American League MVP Mookie Betts in an offseason trade with the Boston Red Sox.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are the first team to punch their ticket to MLB's expanded 2020 postseason. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)
The Los Angeles Dodgers are the first team to punch their ticket to MLB's expanded 2020 postseason. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

Of course, this postseason will present a new challenge thanks to the added wild card round. The Dodgers will have to win a best-of-three series just to reach the NLDS.

The four remaining NL teams after the wild card round will travel to Texas where the NLDS, NLCS and World Series will all be played in MLB’s postseason bubble.

Magic Number Countdown

WHITE SOX: There’s not a lot of drama around which team will clinch a postseason berth next. The Chicago White Sox enter Tuesday with a magic number of one. All they need to clinch is one more win, or one more Seattle Mariners loss.

(Albert Corona / Yahoo Sports)
(Albert Corona / Yahoo Sports)

Key Races

NL CENTRAL: One caveat of MLB’s expanded postseason is that the top two teams in each division get in. That creates six new races separate from the division title and wild card berths.

In the NL Central, the race for that second spot is really heating up. While the Cubs have a comfortable 5.5-game lead for first place, the St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds and Milwaukee Brewers are locked in a battle for second. Entering play on Thursday, St. Louis and Cincinnati are tied for second place. Milwaukee is one game back.

(Albert Corona / Yahoo Sports)
(Albert Corona / Yahoo Sports)

These three teams will be duking it out over the final 11 days. The Cardinals and Brewers will play five more times this season. The Reds will also host Milwaukee for three games.

NL EAST: Can the Miami Marlins shock the world? They already have us startled. With Wednesday’s 8-4 win against the Boston Red Sox, Miami is just 2.5 games behind the Atlanta Braves for first place in the NL East. The Marlins have a 1.5-game edge on Philadelphia for second place.

AL EAST: It’s a similar situation in the AL East. The Rays hold a three-game lead over New York for the top spot. Meanwhile, the Yankees hold a mere 1.5-game lead over Toronto for second place. One week ago, the Yankees were actually three games behind the Jays. Since then, they’ve won seven straight games.

Games to Watch

Twins at White Sox (2:10 p.m. ET) — The White Sox can get their clinch on Thursday afternoon against the Minnesota Twins. This game is also important in the AL Central standings. Chicago currently holds a two-game lead over Minnesota.

Giants vs. Mariners (4:10 p.m ET) — Back in spring training, could anyone have imagined a September Giants-Mariners game having so much meaning? The 24-24 Giants would be in as a wild-card team if the postseason started today. At 22-27, the Mariners are just two games behind Houston for second place in the AL West.

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