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.
It’s the final week! The MLB postseason is right around the corner, and the final week of the regular season still has drama that needs to be resolved.
Four division titles have been clinched, two more are looking like pretty good bets, but what’s looking particularly wild this week is the two wild-card races.
In the AL, we’re down to three teams. The Tampa Rays and Cleveland Indians enter play tied for that second spot, behind the Oakland A’s, who would host the one-game playoff.
In the NL, the Washington Nationals and Milwaukee Brewers are tied for the top spot. The most likely scenario is the other team getting the second wild-card spot, but the Cubs, Mets, Phillies and Diamondbacks are technically still alive.
Here’s where everything sits entering play Monday, plus who can get eliminated and our picks for the best games to watch.
Magic Number Countdown
TWINS: The Minnesota Twins’ magic number to clinch the AL Central is three heading into a series against the worst-in-baseball Detroit Tigers.
CARDINALS: The Cardinals completed a four-game sweep of the Cubs to lower their magic number to clinch the NL Central to four. They’ve also locked in at least a postseason berth, but they’re chasing the division title. They have the Diamondbacks next.
NATIONALS/BREWERS: The magic number for both teams to clinch a playoff is berth is three. The Brewers can still win the NL Central, where they’re three games behind the Cards.
DODGERS: The Los Angeles Dodgers clinched their seventh straight NL West title on Sept. 10.
YANKEES: The New York Yankees clinched their first AL East title since 2012 on Sept. 19.
BRAVES: The Atlanta Braves clinched their second straight NL East title on Sept. 20.
ASTROS: The Houston Astros joined the club Sunday, clinching their third consecutive AL West title with a win against the Angels.
NL WILD CARD: The Brewers have pulled even with the Nationals atop the NL wild card standings. Both teams have a four-game lead over the fading Chicago Cubs, meaning it’s increasingly likely Milwaukee or Washington will host the other in the NL wild-card game.
AL WILD CARD: We’ve also got a tie on the AL side, but this time it’s in the chase. The A’s hold a two-game lead for the top spot, but the Rays and Indians are knotted for the second spot. Coming up this week, the Indians are on the road against the White Sox and Nationals, while the Rays play one home game against the Red Sox, two vs. the Yankees and then finish on the road with the Blue Jays.
AL CENTRAL: The Indians are four back in the AL Central and could still catch the Twins, but Minnesota’s remaining schedule is pretty easy, playing the Tigers and Royals.
NL CENTRAL: The Cardinals and Brewers both completed sweeps this weekend. The Cardinals will take a three-game lead over the second-place Brewers into the final week.
HOME FIELD: It’s a tight race for home field. The Astros have the best record in MLB at 102-54, but the Yankees are just a half-game behind at 102-55. In the NL, the magic number for the Dodgers (99-56) to clinch home-field advantage throughout the NL playoffs is three.
Games to Watch
• Red Sox at Rays (7:10 p.m. ET) —It’s a short slate of action Monday, with only five games. The Rays and Red Sox might be the best of the bunch, as Tampa Bay tries to separate itself from the Indians in the wild-card race.
• Phillies at Nationals (7:10 p.m. ET) —The Phillies are technically still alive in the wild-card hunt, but that could end quickly this week as they play five games against the Nationals. On the other side, they could also save their season. The Nats, meanwhile, could jump slightly ahead of the Brewers, who are idle.
• There were no eliminations on Saturday. Five more teams will have to go before the playoffs officially begin. The Arizona Diamondbacks are next in line to be ousted with an elimination number of one. The Philadelphia Phillies’ elimination number is two. Both teams’ seasons could end Monday.
• Teams whose postseason dreams are already over: Detroit Tigers, Baltimore Orioles, Kansas City Royals, Toronto Blue Jays, Seattle Mariners, Miami Marlins, Los Angeles Angels, Colorado Rockies, Texas Rangers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Boston Red Sox.
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