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 Minnesota Twins and Milwaukee Brewers are heading to the ballpark Wednesday knowing that they could leave with October plans. The postseason is within reach with a win.
Meanwhile, the Chicago Cubs and New York Mets have their backs against the wall. One more loss and they’re out. One Brewers win sends them home too. Everything could be a lot more clear after Wednesday’s games.
The Washington Nationals are in after two wins Tuesday, leaving just a couple of races to watch in baseball’s final days — the AL wild-card being the most exciting.
As we prepare for Wednesday’s action, here’s where everything sits in baseball’s playoff race, including magic numbers and which games you should be watching.
Magic Number Countdown
BREWERS: Their magic number to clinch a playoff spot is one, so a victory Wednesday will give them at least the second NL wild-card spot. But they’re also still alive in the NL Central race.
TWINS: The Minnesota Twins can lock up the AL Central title Wednesday. Their magic number is two after beating the Tigers, so the Indians would also have to lose for them to clinch.
CARDINALS: The Cardinals’ magic number remains at three after taking an L on Tuesday night against the D-backs. The Brewers, meanwhile, are 2.5 games back.
DODGERS: The Los Angeles Dodgers clinched their seventh straight NL West title on Sept. 10. On Tuesday, they clinched home-field advantage through the NL side of the playoffs.
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.
NATIONALS: They clinched an NL wild-card spot Tuesday by sweeping a doubleheader against the Phillies.
AL WILD CARD: This is the race that looks like it will come down to the wire. All three teams enter play Wednesday within a game of each other. The A’s own the top spot, with a half-game lead, then the Rays have the second spot with the Indians a half-game back. It could, however, all change quickly. And, knowing baseball, probably will.
NL WILD CARD: It looks pretty settled with the Nats clinching a spot and the Brewers about to. The question is who will host. Right now, Washington has a one-game lead in that race, but the Brewers are so hot these days, you can’t count them out.
HOME FIELD: The Astros gained a game on the Yankees for overall home-field advantage. Houston is now 103-54 while the Yankees are 102-56.
Games to Watch
• Brewers at Reds (6:40 p.m. ET) —All the Brewers need to lock in the NL playoff teams is a win against Cincinnati. They’re sending Jordan Lyles to the mound.
• Twins at Tigers (6:40 p.m. ET) — This is another win-and-you’re-in game, as the Twins look to lock up their first AL Central title since 2010.
• The Phillies were officially eliminated Tuesday, leaving three more teams to go before the playoffs begin. Next up is the Cubs and Mets, who have an elimination number of one and will be out with their next loss or the Brewers’ next win.
• 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 and Arizona Diamondbacks.
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