MLB Postseason Picture: Brewers pass Cubs in NL wild card race

Mark TownsendYahoo Sports Contributor

It’s September, so the baseball games matter a little more. That’s why every day between now and the start of the postseason we’ll keep you updated on baseball’s postseason picture.

The Milwaukee Brewers are trying to make this another September to remember.

After surging to an NL Central title with a 20-7 record between September and October last season, the Brewers have started this month with an NL-best 14-4 mark after they defeated the Padres, 5-1.

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In the process, the Brewers have gone from four games behind the Chicago Cubs in the wild-card standings, to one game ahead. That means if the season ended on Thursday, the Brewers would own the NL’s second wild card and would play in Washington against the Nationals in the wild-card game.

With 10 days still remaining, the Brewers now stand a good chance to catch the Nationals for the top wild card. On Sept. 1, Milwaukee was 7.5 games behind Washington. Now the Brewers are just one game back.

Much of the Brewers September success this season is coming without Christian Yelich, whose season ended with a broken kneecap last week.

It’s safe to say we should never count the Brewers out, regardless of the circumstances.

The Milwaukee Brewers keep winning and gaining ground in the NL standings. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
The Milwaukee Brewers keep winning and gaining ground in the NL standings. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

Here’s a full look at the postseason picture, which included a division clincher.

Magic Number Countdown

BRAVES: Their magic number to clinch the NL East is 1 after beating the Phillies, 5-4.

ASTROS: The Astros clinched a postseason berth and 100-win season on Wednesday. Their magic number to clinch the AL West is 2.

TWINS: The Minnesota Twins magic number to clinch the AL Central is down to 6 after they defeated the Royals, 8-5.

CARDINALS: St. Louis won the series opener in Chicago, besting the Cubs 5-4 in 10 innings. The Cardinals magic number to clinch the NL Central is now 7.

Already Clinched

DODGERS: The Los Angeles Dodgers clinched their seventh straight NL West title on Sept. 10.

YANKEES: The New York Yankees clinched their first AL East title since 2012 on Sept. 19.

PLAYOFF BOUND: The Astros and Braves are the only other teams to have clinched a postseason berth.

Key Races

AL WILD CARD: The Indians won 7-0 against the Tigers. They are tied now with the Rays for the AL’s second wild card. The Oakland Athletics are two games up on both teams for the top wild card.

AL CENTRAL: Wins by the Twins and Indians keeps Minnesota’s division lead at four games with nine games left to play.

NL CENTRAL: The Cardinals maintain a three-game lead over the second-place Brewers. The Cubs slipped to four games back.

Games to Watch

• St. Louis Cardinals vs. Chicago Cubs (2:20 p.m. ET) — Despite the dramatic return of Anthony Rizzo and a Cubs ninth-inning rally to force extra innings, the Cardinals won Game 1. Game 2 will hold even more importance for both teams, with the Brewers refusing to go away.

• Los Angeles Angels vs. Houston Astros (8:10 p.m. ET) — The Astros can clinch the AL West on Friday with a win and an A's loss later in the evening. Zack Greinke will take the hill against an Angels lineup that's missing Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani and Justin Upton.

Elimination Watch

• The Boston Red Sox survived elimination on Thursday, but are still one loss away. The San Francisco Giants are right there with them with an elimination number of one on the NL side.

• Teams whose postseason dreams are already over: Detroit Tigers, Baltimore Orioles, Kansas City Royals, Toronto Blue Jays, Seattle Mariners, Miami Marlins, Los Angeles Angels, Colorado Rockies, Texas Rangers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds, San Diego Padres.

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