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Every division winner has already clinched, save one. That can change on Tuesday night, though, as the Red Sox are six games up on their closest opponent, the Blue Jays, and with just six games to go. One more Boston win or a Toronto loss officially crowns a new AL East champion, and then all we’ll be left with is the two wild card races. The only way the Jays can avoid this fate is to sweep their series against the Orioles while the Red Sox are swept by the Yankees, and then the Jays would have a chance to tie things up with another sweep to close out the season, this one against the Sox. It’s not impossible, but it’s unlikely: Boston’s current playoff odds for the division are 99.7 percent.
What’s a little funny about this is that, while the Sox would be the last team to clinch, they’re also leading the AL race for home-field advantage. They have 92 wins, tied with the Rangers for the most in the American League — and one more than the AL Central champs, the Indians — and they have one fewer loss than both teams, as well. That puts them just a half-game up on the Rangers, so it’s not as if the lead is insurmountable. But it all just goes to show you how difficult the AL East has been in 2016.
In fact, the only reason the Red Sox are as far ahead right now as they are is because they’re riding an 11-game win streak and have won 14 of their last 15 games. Back on Sept. 6, when this stretch began, the Sox were tied with Toronto atop the East, and the Orioles were just one game back of both teams. Now, the Jays and O’s are tied for the AL’s two wild cards, and set to face each other in a three-game series. Things changed in a hurry, but there’s still a chance — and a good one — that the East manages to send three teams to October. And we might just officially know which one is going there through the division by this time tomorrow morning.
- Dee Gordon honored Jose Fernandez while leading off Monday’s Marlins game, then hit a homer in what Gordon referred to as the "best moment of [his] life."
- The Marlins’ heartfelt tribute to Fernandez was hard to watch, but it was worthwhile.
- As referenced above, the Indians are AL Central champions after defeating the Tigers 7-4 on Monday.
- The Mariners are two out of a wild card with six games to go, and here is how things have to go for them to go right for Seattle.
- Mike Trout is the greatest player at his age of all-time. In case you needed another reason to be awed by him.
- The Braves couldn’t hit in the first half, but the second half has been different, and Talking Chop took a closer look.
- Andrew McCutchen discussed how the Pirates can go about being competitive again in 2017.
- The Twins hired Indians’ assistant general manager Derek Falvey to be their new president of baseball operations. Unless they didn’t? It’s not completely clear yet, but it sounds like it will happen.
- After 25 years of operating the scoreboard on the Green Monster at Fenway Park, Christian Elias is retiring. Not before he tells stories of the inside of the Monster, though.
- Four years ago today, a great accidental headline was written.