MLB Postseason Picture: Yankees move closer to AL East title

Mark TownsendYahoo Sports Contributor
Yahoo Sports

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.

Despite a quieter than usual schedule, there was plenty of movement in the standings on Wednesday.

The New York Yankees moved a little closer to clinching their first AL East crown since 2012. On the West Coast, the Los Angeles Dodgers remained determined to wrap up their seventh straight NL West by week’s end. In between, the AL and NL Central and wild-card races all got a little closer.

Magic Number Countdown

DODGERS: It’s only a matter of time until they’re celebrating again in Los Angeles. The Dodgers won their fourth game in a row Wednesday, topping the Rockies 7-3 while dropping their magic number to four.

NEXT UP: It’s a race between the Yankees and Astros to see who will clinch next. The Yankees’ magic number is down to 12, while Houston’s remained at 15 following an off day on Wednesday.

THE REST: In the AL, the Minnesota Twins magic number to clinch the Central remained at 18. The Atlanta Braves’ magic number to clinch the NL East dropped to 17, while the St. Louis Cardinals magic number to clinch the NL Central stayed at 22.

The Yankees are closing in on their first division title since 2012. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
The Yankees are closing in on their first division title since 2012. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Key Races

AL WILD CARD: It’s getting tight. The Indians held on for a thrilling 8-6 win against the White Sox, while the Athletics completed a 4-0 shutout victory against the Angels. That not only kept Cleveland and Oakland locked in a tie for the second wild-card spot, it also moved both to one-half game of the Tampa Bay Rays for the top spot.

The Boston Red Sox were victorious as well, keeping them 5.5 games back and on the fringe of contention.

AL CENTRAL: Don’t count out the Indians in the AL Central race, either. Oscar Mercado’s game-saving catch moved them to within 5.5 games of Minnesota.

NL CENTRAL: The Cardinals missed an opportunity to create distance from the idle Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers. St. Louis dropped a 9-8 game to the San Francisco Giants despite rallying from 4-0 and 7-4 deficits against Madison Bumgarner and a tough Giants bullpen. With the loss, the Cubs moved to 2.5 games back while the Brewers inched up to 6.5 games back.

NL WILD CARD: The Nationals maintain a firm three-game lead over the Cubs for the top wild-card spot despite falling to the Mets, 8-4. The Philadelphia Phillies and Arizona Diamondbacks are 2.5 games behind Chicago for the second spot, with the Brewers (4) and Mets (4.5) still in the hunt.

Games to Watch

• Cubs at Brewers (7:10 p.m. ET) — This is a huge four-game series Milwaukee, which stayed alive by winning two of three from the Cubs last weekend in Chicago. The Cubs are in chase mode in the NL Central, while also attempting to fend off Philadelphia and Milwaukee in the wild card.

• Nationals at Braves (6:20 p.m. ET) — The NL East is Atlanta's to lose, but the Nationals can at least make things interesting this weekend. The division rivals open a four-game series in Atlanta with 16-game winner Stephen Strasburg squaring off against surprise 15-game winner Max Fried. The teams have split the season series with six wins each.

Elimination Watch

• The Seattle Mariners are here to remind us that championships aren’t won in April. After starting the season with a league-best 13-5 record, they were officially eliminated on Wednesday, thanks to Cleveland’s victory. Since the hot start, Seattle has gone 45-77.

• Speaking again of the Indians, their victory dropped the Chicago White Sox elimination number down to four. That puts them next closest to elimination. The Colorado Rockies are right behind them with an elimination number of five.

• Team whose postseason dreams are already over: Detroit Tigers, Baltimore Orioles, Kansas City Royals, Toronto Blue Jays and Miami Marlins.

More from Yahoo Sports:

What to Read Next