MLB postseason picture: Reds clinch playoff spot, AL Central race gets closer

Mark Townsend
·Yahoo Sports Contributor
·3 mins read

The Cincinnati Reds have secured their spot in the MLB playoffs.

With Friday’s 7-2 win against the Minnesota Twins, Cincinnati became the sixth National League team to clinch a 2020 postseason berth, joining the Dodgers, Padres, Braves, Cubs and Marlins, who also clinched Friday night. It’s the first time Cincinnati has made the postseason since 2013.

Cincinnati entered the season as a popular sleeper pick. After spending the last half-decade rebuilding, the pieces seemed to be in place for a breakthrough season after ace right-hander Trevor Bauer was acquired in 2019 and slugger Mike Moustakas was signed during the offseason.

However, things didn’t look so promising as recently as Sept. 12. On that date, the Reds were 20-26 and a near afterthought in the standings. Since then, they’ve gone 10-2 to pass the Cardinals, Brewers and Phillies.

The Cincinnati Reds are headed to the MLB postseason for the first time since 2013. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
The Cincinnati Reds are headed to the MLB postseason for the first time since 2013. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

American League field is set

The Houston Astros wrapped up the final American League spot late Friday night thanks to the Dodgers’ 9-5 win against the Angels. The field of eight is the Rays, A’s, Twins, Yankees, Indians, White Sox, the Jays and Astros.

There’s still plenty of seeding questions left to be answered in the AL. In fact, the Central division is also still up for grabs.

Key Races

AL CENTRAL: The Twins and White Sox both lost, which may have opened the door for Cleveland to take the division over the weekend. The Indians win Friday moved them into a tie with the White Sox for second place in the division. Both teams are one game behind Minnesota with two games left to play.

NL WILD CARD: Finally, some clarity. The Marlins and Reds are both in by virtue of their wins. That leaves the Giants, Cardinals, Phillies and Brewers for two spots. The Giants and Phillies both lost, while the Cardinals and Brewers split a doubleheader. The Giants and Cardinals would be in if the playoffs started Saturday.

Magic Number Countdown

CUBS: The Cubs snapped a three-game losing streak with a dominant 10-0 win against the White Sox. Their magic number to clinch the NL Central is one.

Games to Watch

Cubs at White Sox (7:10 p.m. ET) — Another huge game between Chicago’s World Series contenders. The Cubs need a win to clinch the division. The White Sox need a win to stay alive in the AL Central. Oh, and there was bad blood Friday following a Willson Contreras bat flip and hit by pitch.

Reds at Twins (7:10 p.m. ET) — The Twins control their own destiny in the AL Central, but could lose hold of that advantage with another loss.

Padres at Giants (9:15 p.m. ET) — The Padres are locked into the No. 4 seed, but can play spoiler for a Giants team fighting for a wild card spot.

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