With the minor-league season (essentially) over and our typical 8:00 AM slot suddenly open, I figured it would be worthwhile to take a quick daily look at how the playoff picture has changed in the American League on a day-to-day basis. This will be nothing fancy. Just a look at how playoff contenders did on the day, how it affected the standings and what it means for the Red Sox. I’ll consider any team within five games of a playoff spot as a postseason contender.
BOS 1, TB 4
NYY 16, TEX 7
CLE 3, BAL 2
OAK 10, HOU 2
KC 11, MIN 2
LAA 5, SEA 2
As we know, the Red Sox lost a game in the division race to the Yankees and now are up by 3.5 in the game. In what has been a strange season around the league, that is actually the smallest lead in the American League and the second-smallest in all of baseball. Both Cleveland and Houston have big leads in their division, and both teams are fighting for the top seed in the AL and the right to play the winner of the wildcard game in the ALDS. The Indians took control of that race on Sunday with their 18th consecutive victory. They now have a one-game lead over Houston in that race, and the Astros are five games ahead of Boston for home field in the 2-3 matchup in the ALDS.
As for the wildcard, that race is a mess in the best possible way and will probably be the most exciting part of the stretch run in MLB. The Yankees remain in control in that race and have a 4.5-game cushion to play and a 3.5-game cushion for home field in that game. Right now, Minnesota still has control of that second spot in a surprising turn of events, though that lead is down to one after they lost on Sunday and the Angels won. Meanwhile, Kansas City and Texas both trail by 2.5 games; Baltimore and Seattle both trail by three games; Tampa Bay trails by 3.5 games.
Over in the National League, for those interested there, the Dodgers lost their tenth straight game but still hold a commanding lead in their division. The only real races are the National League Central (Chicago leads both Milwaukee and St. Louis by two games) and the second wildcard spot (Colorado leads both Milwaukee and St. Louis by three games).