MLB postseason picture: Athletics clinch playoff spot, close in on AL West title

Mark Townsend
·Yahoo Sports Contributor
·3 mins read

The Oakland Athletics are postseason bound.

With a 6-0 win against the San Francisco Giants and a Seattle Mariners 6-1 loss to the San Diego Padres, Oakland became the third American League team to clinch a spot in the 2020 postseason. They will join the Chicago White Sox and Tampa Bay Rays, who both clinched on Thursday.

The Athletics are now poised to dethrone the Houston Astros atop the AL West. Oakland’s magic number to clinch is now three, meaning it could happen as early as this weekend. Oakland has finished second to Houston in each of the last two seasons despite winning 97 regular season games both years.

Unfortunately for the A’s the last two seasons ended with disappointing losses in the AL wild card game. This season, Oakland is guaranteed to play at least two postseason games, though there’s still no guarantee they’ll reach the ALDS for the first time in seven years. The new best-of-three wild card series is the first hurdle they’ll be forced to clear, and their potential opponents include the New York Yankees, Minnesota Twins and Houston Astros.

Magic Number Countdown

TWINS: The Minnesota Twins are the next American League team in line to clinch a postseason berth. Despite losing to the Chicago Cubs on Friday, the Twins dropped down to one. They can clinch Saturday with a win against the Cubs or a Seattle Mariners loss.

PADRES: Over in the National League, the San Diego Padres magic number to clinch a postseason berth is two. They can get in Saturday with a win in Seattle and a Cincinnati Reds loss to the Chicago White Sox.

Bryce Harper homered for the third time in two days during Philadelphia's doubleheader sweep of Toronto. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Bryce Harper homered for the third time in two days during Philadelphia's doubleheader sweep of Toronto. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Key Races

NL WILD CARD: This is a four-team race for two spots. The Phillies moved into the top spot after sweeping a doubleheader against the Blue Jays. Meanwhile, Cincinnati moved into a virtual tie with San Francisco for the second wild card after knocking off the White Sox. The Reds have won six games in a row. The Milwaukee Brewers are still very much alive at one game back.

AL CENTRAL: The White Sox and Twins both lost Friday, meaning Chicago will maintain a three-game lead for first place. The Indians won though, moving them to within two games of Minnesota for second place. The top two teams in each division make the postseason.

Games to Watch

White Sox at Reds (7:07 p.m. ET) — The Reds are making a postseason push after notching their sixth straight win. If that’s not enough reason to watch, Cy Young contender Trevor Bauer will bring his 1.77 ERA into a fun matchup with Chicago’s offense.

Twins vs. Cubs (7:15 p.m. ET) — The weekend's most intriguing series continues in Chicago. The Cubs won the opener, but it’s Minnesota who could celebrate a postseason berth Saturday with a win.

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