With the postseason fast approaching, there was a ton of jostling for position over the last two weeks. Now that the playoff field is all set, here is how we got to where we are.
Sept. 30: All American League business was settled on Saturday afternoon, thanks to the Red Sox clinching the AL East with a win over the Astros. That locked in Boston and Houston for an ALDS matchup beginning Thursday night, and cemented the Indians as the top seed in the American League. Cleveland will face the winner of the AL Wild Card Game, which will feature the Twins visiting the Yankees in New York on Tuesday night.
In the National League, the Milwaukee Brewers had a six-run lead in St. Louis, but ultimately fell to the Cardinals, 7-6. Milwaukee’s loss clinched the second Wild Card spot for the Colorado Rockies, who return to the postseason for the first time in eight years.
Sept. 29: The Red Sox still haven’t clinched the AL East, and with a loss against the Astros on Friday night are now down to two games in which to do so. They’ve lost four of their last five, and their magic number is two. They either need to win twice, or hope the Yankees lose one or two games to help them out in their hopes for a division title.
Even if they clinch the division, they’ll want to make sure they have things figured out against the Astros before they would then face them in the ALDS next week. Houston was the latest team to join the 100-win club with their win over Boston.
In the only other race that is coming down to the wire, both the Rockies and the Brewers won their games which means Milwaukee lives to fight for the final Wild Card spot another day. It won’t matter if Colorado keeps winning, as they only need one more victory to seal their playoff spot.
Sept. 28: The Cleveland Indians joined the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 100-win club, and they had to in order to remain one game ahead of the Houston Astros for the top seed in the American League playoffs. Houston won its 99th game on Thursday in the opener of a four-game weekend series with the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park in what could serve as an ALDS preview. Houston has the best offense in baseball, and the bats are on fire in the season’s final week.
The Astros have scored 10 runs or more in four consecutive games. Before yesterday, they had never done it in three consecutive games.— Jake Kaplan (@jakemkaplan) September 29, 2017
Boston still has yet to clinch the AL East but owns a three-game lead over the New York Yankees, who lost to Tampa Bay on Thursday. The Red Sox’s magic number to clinch the division is just one.
The Brewers beat the Reds at home, pulling to within two games of the Rockies for the second National League Wild Card spot with three games remaining. Milwaukee heads this weekend to St. Louis, where they will play a Cardinals team that was eliminated on Thursday night.
Sept. 27: Boston pulled a win out even after letting the Jays put up seven runs, and even though the Yankees won as well, Boston’s victory puts their magic number to clinch the division at 2.
The Twins lost, so while their clinching of a playoff spot didn’t happen on their own terms, the Angels lost too which clinched a spot for Minnesota. They became the first team to ever make the postseason after losing 100 games or more the previous season.
In the still-undecided NL Wild Card race, both the Brewers and Cardinals lost while the Rockies managed to beat the Marlins by a whopping 15-9 score. That puts Milwaukee’s elimination number at 2 and St. Louis’ at 1, leaving them a minimal chance of sneaking into the postseason at this point. Still possible, but not probable. Elsewhere in the National League, the Cubs clinched the division.
Houston won the same day the Indians lost, which puts the Astros only one game back of Cleveland for American League home field advantage.
Out west, the NL-best Dodgers won their 102nd game, moving their magic number to clinch home field advantage through the World Series to just one, over both Cleveland and Houston.
Sept. 26: The Twins won again, and in the process not only eliminated multiple teams from the AL Wild Card race but knocked their magic number to secure the second Wild Card spot down to one. With a comeback against the Indians — which should also have them feeling more confident about facing the Yankees in a probable Wild Card game — Minnesota has the Angels on the edge of elimination as well.
The Angels still have a chance though! They’re holding on by a thread thanks to a 9-3 win over the White Sox.
In the final push for an AL East division win, the Red Sox lost and the Yankees won for the second day in a row, which means Boston’s magic number is three with five games left to play. They’re lead over New York is down to three as well. Those results also mean the Yankees have clinched home field advantage in the Wild Card play-in game.
When it comes to home field advantage, the Indians fell further back of the Dodgers with a loss, as did the Nationals. However the Astros helped their cause with a win and are only one game back from the Indians for AL home field advantage.
All three of the teams rallying for the second NL Wild Card slot won, which leaves them exactly where they stood a day ago. The Rockies in control, with the Brewers 1.5 games back and the Cardinals 2.5 games back of the final playoff spot.
Sept. 25: With the Red Sox losing and the Yankees winning (thanks to two Aaron Judge home runs) Boston’s magic number to clinch the AL East remains at three games but their lead over New York drops to four.
The Rangers were pushed to the brink of elimination thanks to a loss by the Astros. Houston also gained on Cleveland for American League home field advantage and are only two games back in that race.
In the overall home field advantage race, the Dodgers remain in the lead but only by a 1.5 margin over Cleveland and 3.5 over the Astros. The Nationals are 4.5 games back from LA in the National League home field advantage fight. The Dodgers magic number to secure the advantage is down to two games over Washington, three games over Houston, and four over Cleveland.
The American League Wild Card battle looks like it belongs to Minnesota at this point, as the Angels and Royals lost again and fell further behind. Over in the NL, the Rockies lost, as did the Cardinals so Milwaukee (who had Monday off) is only 1.5 games behind Colorado for that final playoff spot and the Cardinals remain one game behind them. The moment of truth is here for many teams hoping to sneak into the postseason, but not all of them will be able to hold on with less than a week of games left.
Sept. 24: The Diamondbacks had a fun Sunday. First they clinched a playoff berth thanks to losses early in the day by the Brewers and Cardinals. Then, Arizona beat the Marlins in their game, ensuring that the NL Wild Card Game will be played in Phoenix on Tuesday, Oct. 4.
The Cubs got a shutout from Jose Quintana, who struck out 10 Brewers on Sunday, giving Chicago three wins in the four-game weekend series in Milwaukee to basically put the National League Central to bed. Chicago’s magic number to clinch the division is just two over both St. Louis and Milwaukee. The earliest the Cubs can clinch is Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the Twins are closing in on the second American League Wild Card after finishing off a four-game sweep of the hapless Tigers. Minnesota leads the Angels by 4½ games and leads the Rangers and Royals by 5½ games, with just a week left to play.
Sept. 23: Four of the five American League playoff teams are set, with the Yankees clinching a playoff berth on Saturday with a win in Toronto. New York is still four games back of the Red Sox in the AL East with eight to play, but assured of at least a Wild Card berth.
New York’s win officially eliminated the Blue Jays from playoff contention, but Toronto wasn’t alone. The Orioles were eliminated on Saturday as well.
In the National League, the Brewers were the only team in Wild Card contention to win on Saturday, with Travis Shaw delivering a walk-off home run in a 4-3 win over the Cubs in what has been a fantastic weekend series at Miller Park. Milwaukee is 4½ games behind Chicago in the NL Central, but just one game back of the Rockies for the second Wild Card spot.
The Diamondbacks, owners of a six-game lead over Colorado for the first Wild Card spot, can clinch a playoff berth as early as Sunday, with either a win or losses by both the Brewers and Cardinals.
Sept. 22: The Cubs and Brewers continued their exciting series with a Chicago win in extra innings, extending their lead over Milwaukee in the NL Central to 5.5 games. Thanks to a Cardinals win over the Pirates, the Brewers are behind St. Louis in the division and Wild Card races. They are 1.5 games back of the second spot in the latter.
Since the Dodgers won LA officially clinched the division — which they would have also done the Diamondbacks had won but controlled their own destiny and took care of things by defeating the Giants..
Boston increased their hold on the AL East with a win and a Yankees loss, and they are up four games on New York with a magic number to clinch of six. However, thanks to other losses the Yankees’ magic number to clinch a postseason berth is 1. The Indians lost against the Mariners but the Astros won so the race for best record in the American League remains tight, with Houston only 1.5 games back.
The AL Wild Card race remains complicated, but is clicking more into focus with every game. With the Twins’ convincing win over the Yankees, a Rangers loss, a Royals loss, and an Angels loss, Minnesota finds themselves up 3.5 games, 4.5 games, and 3.5 games over each team respectively.
Sept. 21: Colorado is having some fun on Twitter about their current Wild Card situation — claiming to currently be fans of the Cubs and Reds. The Cubs because they played the Brewers on Thursday night and the Reds because they faced off against the Cardinals.
Both teams that are hot on the Rockies’ tail in the NL Wild Card race.
The Reds didn’t live up to their end of the bargain on Thursday with the Cardinals besting them 8-5, but the Cubs did after rallying to beat the Brewers 5-3 in extra innings. The Cubs are now up 4.5 games in the NL Central over Milwaukee.
The Rockies didn’t practice what they preach though, falling to the Padres by a score of 3-0. After the night’s action, the NL Wild Card race sits at Colorado in the pole position, Milwaukee 1.5 games back, and the Cardinals 2 out of it. Feel the excitement!
The Dodgers came one step closer to clinching when they avoided a sweep at the hands of the Phillies. With the Diamondbacks off on Thursday, their magic number to clinch the division is at 1. The Astros lost, which puts the Dodgers’ magic number of clinching a better record than Houston at 7.
LA is still one game ahead of Cleveland in the pursuit of best record in the league and World Series home field advantage.
The Angels continued their losing skid with a fourth loss in a row (thanks to the Indians continuing their hot streak), putting them 2.5 games back of the Twins for the second Wild Card after Minnesota absolutely crushed the Tigers 12-1. They have 10 games left on the schedule, so their situation is getting bleaker.
The Rangers are now tied with the Angels at 2.5 games back of the second Wild Card spot thanks to their 4-2 win over Seattle. The Mariners now sit at six games back, and without all the teams in front of them collapsing and the Mariners going on a sudden win streak, the playoffs look to be out of reach for them. Meanwhile, the Royals helped their case with a win over the Jays and are 3.5 games out of it.
Sept. 20: The Dodgers had a chance to clinch the NL West, but failed to do it thanks to a loss to the Phillies. They’ll try again Thursday afternoon and hope the Diamondbacks lose Friday to seal the division for them. In a tight AL East race, the Red Sox and Yankees both won and New York remains three games behind the former for the division. Boston’s magic number is reduced to eight games.
As for the AL wild card, the Twins loss meant the Angels had a chance to gain ground on them, but instead, they dropped their game to the Indians, clinching the guarantee of at least a wild card for Boston. The Rangers defeated the Mariners, however, causing Seattle to lose their fifth straight and remain four back of the second wild card, while Texas shaved a game off their deficit and are now 2.5 behind Minnesota.
Over in the National League wild card race, the Brewers weren’t able to help themselves when they had the opportunity to do so and lost to the Pirates. The Rockies lost earlier in the afternoon, opening the door for Milwaukee to win and tie them for the second wild card slot.
Instead, the Brewers remain one game back with only 10 games left in the season, with the Cardinals hot on their tails at 2.5 games back from the second wild card spot after a win Wednesday night.