It’s September, so the baseball games matter a little more. That’s why every day between now and the start of the postseason we’ll keep you updated on baseball’s postseason picture.
The most interesting playoff race in baseball at the moment is the American League wild card, where three teams are tightly chasing two spots and the defending champion Boston Red Sox have an outside shot of being a fourth.
The Oakland Athletics — defying expectations as always — moved into a tie for the second wild-card spot Tuesday night. The Los Angeles Dodgers also got one step closer to clinching their division with a win Tuesday night. Elsewhere, the first National League team was officially eliminated from playoff contention.
Magic Number Countdown
DODGERS: Their magic number is down to five after a 5-3 win against the Rockies on Tuesday night. They’re looking at the very real opportunity to clinch the NL West at home this weekend as they host the rival San Francisco Giants. The Dodgers have one more game against the Rockies on Wednesday and then are off Thursday.
NEXT UP: The Yankees and Astros are next closest to clinching their divisions, but not quite as close as the Dodgers. The Yankees’ magic number is 13 while Houston’s remains at 15.
THE REST: The Atlanta Braves’ magic number in the NL East is 18, which is the same as the Minnesota Twins in the AL Central. The St. Louis Cardinals’ magic number to clinch the NL Central is 22, but more on that race shortly.
AL WILD CARD: The Indians lost to the White Sox 6-5, and the A’s beat the Angels 7-5, which put Oakland and Cleveland into a tie for the second wild-card spot. The Rays, who lead the wild-card race, have just a one-game lead, so they need to keep winning too.
While the AL division races look mostly set — the Twins in the Central have the smallest lead at 6.5 games — the wild-card race looks like it will be duked out until the wire with these three teams. The Boston Red Sox are 5.5 games back, making them a more distant but still plausible contender.
NL WILD CARD: Every team chasing the NL wild card (except the Mets, which OMGLOL) won on Tuesday night, leaving the standings pretty much unchanged: The Nats and Cubs hold the top spots with the Phillies (2.5 games back), D-backs (3.5) and Brewers (4) chasing them. The Mets are now 5 games back, and as our Matt Ehalt explains, theirs is a very uphill road at this point.
NL CENTRAL: In the closest division race in MLB, the Cardinals, Cubs and Brewers all won, leaving St. Louis’s three-game lead in tact over the Cubs. The Brewers are a more distant 7 games back.
Games to Watch
• Twins at Red Sox (7:10 p.m. ET) — The Twins won their third straight and ninth game in their last 10 Tuesday night against the Red Sox. Boston meanwhile is seeing their wild-card hopes dashed more by the day. This one also features a good pitching matchup in Jose Berrios vs. Eduardo Rodriguez.
• Rockies at Dodgers (10:10 p.m. ET) — After getting roughed up in his previous two starts, Hyun-Jin Ryu is looking to rebound for the Dodgers. And looking to help his Cy Young case. Getting the Dodgers one win closer to the NL West title would be nice too.
• The Seattle Mariners’ elimination number is down to one after a 6-1 loss to the Cubs. Their theoretical postseason hopes will live on for another two days at least, as Seattle is off Wednesday and then plays the Houston Astros on Thursday night.
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