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.
Just when it looked like injuries would be the Milwaukee Brewers downfall, they’ve managed to rally together and climb back into the postseason hunt.
Wednesday’s 7-5 triumph over the Miami Marlins extended the Brewers NL-best winning streak to six games. More importantly, it pulled them into a straight up tie with the Chicago Cubs for the NL’s second wild card spot with 17 games left to play.
The victory came 24 hours after Milwaukee lost its MVP, Christian Yelich, to a fractured knee cap. His absence, which would likely extend deep into the postseason and possibly beyond, undeniably makes their path to a championship more difficult.
In the here and now, though, Milwaukee is playing its best baseball of the season. The Cubs, on the other hand, are not after losing five of six on the road in Milwaukee and San Diego. It’s looking an awful lot like last season, when a Brewers September surge pushed them past Chicago to an unlikely division title.
With the NL picture heating up, here’s a look at the complete postseason picture.
Magic Number Countdown
ASTROS: The Houston Astros magic number to clinch the AL West is still eight after losing to the A’s, 5-3.
YANKEES: The New York Yankees were rained out Wednesday night in Detroit. They will play a traditional doubleheader on Thursday. Their magic number to clinch the AL East still dropped to eight with the Rays losing 10-9 in Texas.
THE REST: The Minnesota Twins magic number to clinch the AL Central is 13. The St. Louis Cardinals magic number to clinch the NL Central is 14.
ALREADY CLINCHED: The Los Angeles Dodgers clinched their seventh straight NL West title on Sept. 10.
NL WILD CARD: In a landscape that changes daily, the Nationals are the only constant right now. They remain in firm control of the top spot. The Cubs and Brewers are now tied for the second wild card. But don’t count out the Mets, who have won three in a row, or the up and down Phillies. Both are just two games back.
AL WILD CARD: Here’s another AL race that got a little closer. The Rays still hold the top spot, but only by half a game over the Oakland Athletics. The Indians are one game behind Tampa Bay and half a game behind Oakland.
NL CENTRAL: The Cardinals have managed to lose two straight in Colorado. That’s not ideal considering the Rockies are the final sub-.500 team they’ll face this season. St. Louis’s division lead is still comfortable though at four games over the Cubs and Brewers.
Games to Watch
• Arizona Diamondbacks vs. New York Mets (1:10 p.m. ET) — There are wild card implications for both teams. For Arizona, it’s essentially a must-win game after losing their fourth straight on Wednesday. For the Mets, it will also be interesting to see how Marcus Stroman fares. In seven starts since being acquired at the trade deadline, he's only posted one quality outing.
• Washington Nationals vs. Minnesota Twins (7:40 p.m. ET) — Like Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, Patrick Corbin has become must-see for Washington. It will be interesting to see how he matches up against a Minnesota team that needs a win.
• The Colorado Rockies hang on another day. The end is still coming though as their elimination number is two. The Texas Rangers and Pittsburgh Pirates are right behind them with elimination number of three and four respectively.
• Teams whose postseason dreams are already over: Detroit Tigers, Baltimore Orioles, Kansas City Royals, Toronto Blue Jays, Seattle Mariners, Miami Marlins, Los Angeles Angels.
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