MLB Postseason Picture: Dodgers on the brink of NL West title while Astros keep bashing

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.

By the time you’re reading the next installment of this column, we could have our first division title clinched. The Los Angeles Dodgers’ magic number is down to one. The Yankees and Astros are getting closer to clinching too — while the Astros, in particular, are putting up football scores.

Here’s where all the contenders sit entering play Tuesday, which teams are close to getting officially eliminated and which games you should be watching.

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Magic Number Countdown

DODGERS: Their magic number is one after the D-backs lost to the Mets, which means the Dodgers can clinch the NL West on Tuesday with either a win in Baltimore or the D-backs losing again.

ASTROS: Once the Dodgers clinch, the Astros could be next up. Especially if they keep playing like they have lately. With a 15-0 win over the second-place A’s — no, that’s not a typo, that was the score — Houston’s magic number is now eight. That win came a day after beating the Mariners 21-1. In Monday night’s game, the Astros hit seven homers.

YANKEES: The Yankees shut out the Red Sox 5-0 on Monday and their magic number is down to nine. The loss officially eliminated the Red Sox from contention in the AL East.

BRAVES: Atlanta’s magic number is down to 10 after a 7-2 win over the division-rival Philadelphia Phillies.

THE REST: The Minnesota Twins’ magic number to clinch the AL Central is still 14. The St. Louis Cardinals currently sit with a magic number of 16.

The Astros hit seven homers in a 15-0 thumping of the A's on Monday night. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
The Astros hit seven homers in a 15-0 thumping of the A's on Monday night. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Key Races

AL CENTRAL: The Indians won Monday night as the Twins were idle, making the gap between the two in the AL Central five games. They’ll meet for three games later this week that could decide whether Cleveland has a chance to catch Minnesota.

NL CENTRAL: The Chicago Cubs won on Monday night as Nico Hoerner had a historic MLB debut. The Brewers also won, while the division-leading Cardinals had the day off. That puts St. Louis’ lead at four games over the Cubs and six over the Brewers.

NL WILD CARD: The Cubs and Brewers both winning keeps them in the same spot for the NL wild card. Chicago owns the second spot with the Brewers two games back. The D-backs’ loss puts them 2.5 games back now, while the Phillies (three games) and Mets (four) are still giving chase.

AL WILD CARD: Cleveland is just half a game behind the A’s for the second wild-card spot after their win on Monday and Oakland’s loss. The A’s have three more games against the Astros this week in which they must do better if they want to stay ahead of Cleveland.

Games to Watch

Dodgers at Orioles (7:05 p.m. ET) — The Dodgers send Walker Buehler to the mound with a chance to clinch the NL West. It may be weird seeing them celebrate in Baltimore, but champagne parties are fun no matter where they are.

Nationals at Twins (7:40 p.m. ET) — It’s an interesting interleague series between two likely playoff teams. The first game features Anibal Sanchez on the mound for the Nats against Jose Berrios for the Twins.

Elimination Watch

• There were no eliminations on Monday. The Los Angeles Angels are next in line with an elimination number of one, followed the Colorado Rockies with an elimination number of two. The Texas Rangers (six) and Pittsburgh Pirates (five) are next on the list.

• Teams whose postseason dreams are already over: Detroit Tigers, Baltimore Orioles, Kansas City Royals, Toronto Blue Jays, Seattle Mariners, Miami Marlins and Chicago White Sox.

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Mike Oz is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @mikeoz

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