September is upon us, which means every race in Major League Baseball is headed for the home stretch. Every game matters more than ever to the teams competing for a postseason spot. That’s why every night between now and the end of the regular season we’ll bring you an updated look at the MLB postseason picture.
One day after becoming the first team to clinch a playoff spot, the Boston Red Sox reached another milestone on Wednesday. For the first time since 1946, the Red Sox notched 100 wins with their 1-0 triumph over the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Red Sox latest victory was led by resurgent pitcher David Price. The veteran left-hander fired seven scoreless innings, allowing just three hits while striking out seven. The win was Price’s 15th of the season after he notched only six during a frustrating 2017 campaign. He’s been especially good since the All-Star break, allowing just 10 earned runs over 65 2/3 innings.
Combined with the New York Yankees 3-1 loss to the Minnesota Twins, the Red Sox moved two steps closer to an AL East title. They hold a firm 10-game lead in the standings with 16 games left to play.
The state of MLB’s playoff races
• AL West: The Houston Astros took care of business in Detroit, sweeping the Tigers with a 5-4 victory. The Oakland Athletics aren’t going away though. They kept the pressure on by dismantling the Baltimore Orioles 10-0. The A’s remain three games back in the standings.
• AL Wild Card: The A’s sixth straight win coupled with the Yankees second straight loss brings the A’s to within one game of the top wild card spot. The A’s lead for the second spot remains 8.5 games over the Tampa Bay Rays.
• NL East: It’s getting to be crunch time for the Philadelphia Phillies. They’ve lost five in a row now after falling 5-1 to the Washington Nationals. Meanwhile, the Atlanta Braves topped the San Francisco Giants 2-1 to sweep the three-game series and make it five straight wins overall. That extends Atlanta’s lead to 7.5 games. The Nationals are eight back.
• NL Central: The relentless Milwaukee Brewers won a critical series against the Chicago Cubs, taking the rubber match 5-1 behind Curtis Granderson’s three-hit game. The Brewers are now one game behind Chicago in the standings. The Cardinals remained 3.5 games back after losing 4-3 to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
• NL West: The Colorado Rockies are still holding on tight thanks to D.J. Lemahieu’s dramatic walk-off home run. The Rockies 5-4 win against the Arizona Diamondbacks maintains their 1.5-game lead in the division over the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers avoided a season-series sweep by the Reds to keep pace. Arizona falls to 3.5 back.
• NL Wild Card: The Brewers are 2.5 game up on the Cardinals for the top wild card spot. The Cardinals lost ground to the Dodgers for the second spot. Los Angeles is now two games back.
Magic Number Watch
• Cleveland Indians — 3: The Indians did little against Blake Snell and the Tampa Bay Rays, losing 3-1 on one just hit. Their Magic Number remains at three thanks to the Twins victory.
If the playoff started tomorrow
Wild-card games: A’s at Yankees; Cardinals at Brewers
ALDS: Indians vs. Astros; Wild-card winner vs. Red Sox
NLDS: Rockies vs. Braves; Wild-card winner vs. Cubs
The Los Angeles Angels are the next team to face elimination. Their elimination number is one in the AL Wild Card race. The next A’s win or Angels loss will officially end the Angels season. Next in line are the Twins and Mets with elimination numbers of three and four respectively.
The Orioles, Royals, White Sox, Tigers, Blue Jays, Rangers, Padres, Reds and Marlins have already been eliminated.
Thursday’s must-see game
As we already mentioned, the Dodgers are one game behind the Cardinals for the last playoff spot. They have an opportunity to change that though this weekend when they visit the Cardinals for four games. The critical series begins Thursday and the Dodgers have a great chance to set a positive tone with Clayton Kershaw (7-5, 2.42) on the hill. St. Louis will counter with rookie Austin Gomber (5-0, 2.93).
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