MLB Magic Number Watch: Cubs, Twins both on verge of clinching

Big League Stew

The Los Angeles Dodgers became the first team to win 100 games this season when they handed the San Diego Padres a 9-3 loss on Monday night. The St. Louis Cardinals were eliminated from NL Central contention with their third straight loss. The Red Sox lost and didn’t get any closer to clinching their division.

Important developments, all of them, but nothing that happened Monday night fully locked in any more playoff spots. As the final week of the MLB season continues, there are still two divisions waiting to be clinched and two wild-card spots up for grabs. Though, by the end of Tuesday night, one of those divisions might belong to the Chicago Cubs and one of those wild-card spots to the Minnesota Twins.

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Each day this week, we’ll be running down the postseason storylines around MLB in our Magic Number Watch. Let’s get started:

Another win saw the Chicago Cubs move a step closer to clinching the NL Central outright. (AP)
Another win saw the Chicago Cubs move a step closer to clinching the NL Central outright. (AP)

By routing the Cardinals, the Cubs put themselves in a pretty good position. Better than the guy who got free nachos from both the Cardinals and the Cubs. The Cubs magic number for clinch the NL Central is down to one. They’ve already clinched at least a tie. So they just need a win again tonight against the Cardinals or a Milwaukee Brewers loss to the Cincinnati Reds. If the Cubs do clinch, here’s hoping the celebrate by pouring nacho cheese all over each other.

The Boston Red Sox didn’t make any progress toward the AL East title Monday. The Yankees won and the Red Sox lost, keeping Boston’s magic number at three. The division lead for the Red Sox still seems mostly safe at four games, but if the Red Sox go cold and Aaron Judge stays hot, things could get interesting. The Red Sox continue a series with the Blue Jays at Fenway while the Yankees host the Rays.

The Minnesota Twins got an assist from the Chicago White Sox on Monday night. The Angels, the Twins’ main competition for the second AL wild-card, lost in Chicago. The Twins were idle, but that still bumped their wild-card lead to five and knocked their magic number down to two. That means the Twins can clinch Tuesday night with a win against the Indians and another Angels loss.

The Minnesota Twins are closing in on the second AL wild-card spot. (AP)
The Minnesota Twins are closing in on the second AL wild-card spot. (AP)

The Colorado Rockies, leaders for the second NL wild-card, still haven’t been able to deliver a death punch to the rest of the NL. They lost to the Miami Marlins on Monday night, which leaves their magic number at five and makes their lead over the Brewers only one-and-a-half games. This looks like the race the could go down the wire, unless the Rockies step on the gas.

The other race to watch is who can get overall home-field advantage in the postseason. The Dodgers still have an advantage over the Indians by two wins (100 vs. 98) but that’s totally within reach for the Indians, who have one more game left on their schedule than L.A. As a reminder: since the All-Star game doesn’t determine World Series home field anymore, this race actually matters now.

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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