Two teams clinched playoff spots on Thursday, one in each league. A few other races postseason berths are nearly wrapped up, but two of the tightest races, the AL Wild Card race and NL Central, remain hotly contested with under two weeks remaining.
Let's check in with the AL Standings, where one team secured a playoff berth:
y-clinched playoff spot, x-clinched division
The Red Sox became the first AL team to clinch a postseason spot Thursday with a win over the Orioles. Boston can secure the AL East crown on Friday with a win over the Toronto Blue Jays or a Rays loss.
The Rangers 8-2 victory over the Rays on Thursday brought the two teams even in the Wild Card standings, with the Indians 1/2 game behind the pair. The win proved as critical to Texas' playoff chances as damaging to Tampa Bay's; the Rangers saw their playoff odds rise 13.5 percent, while the Rays playoff chances fell 14.8 percent.
This weekend promises more shakeup in the Wild Card race. The Rays will host the Orioles, while the Rangers will face the Royals. The Indians and Yankees have more favorable opponents; Cleveland will play the second game of a four-game series against the Houston Astros, while New York square off against the San Francisco Giants.
On to the NL:
The Dodgers defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks to clinch the NL West and celebrated in style. The Braves could secure their own division crown Friday with a win against the Chicago Cubs and a Nationals loss to the Miami Marlins.
The Reds and Pirates both sit within two games of the Cardinals in the NL Central, keeping their hopes of winning the division alive. St. Louis remains in the driver's seat, and will look to put some distance between their division rivals when they kick-off a series against the Milwaukee Brewers. Cincinnati and Pittsburgh will face each other in a series that could decide who will host the NL Wild Card game.