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MLB Playoff Picture Update 9/16: Cleveland clinches the Central

And the Dodgers jump ahead in the west.

Detroit Tigers v Cleveland Indians Photo by David Maxwell/Getty Images

American League East

After a brief setback on the road to clinch the division on Friday, the Red Sox came back and got some good news on Saturday. First off, they did their job by winning a game against the Mets thanks to a great performance from their bullpen and another clutch hit from Brock Holt. Then, the Yankees had a tough time against the Blue Jays. A late rally, including a grand slam from Miguel Andújar, got them within one run, but New York couldn’t pull this one out. As a result, the Red Sox’ lead is back up to 10.5 games with a magic number of four. Things continue to barrel down the path for Boston to clinch in the Bronx.

American League Central

This race hasn’t been exciting since early summer, and now it’s officially over. The Indians headed into Saturday with a magic number of one, meaning they needed to win or the Twins needed to lose for the division to be clinched. Cleveland didn’t let matters go into anyone else’s hands, and they demolished Detroit by a score of 15-0. Champagne flowed, and Cleveland is the first team in baseball to officially lock up their division.

American League West

After dropping a game in the division on Friday, the Astros came back out firing on Saturday and were determined to not allow that to happen again. They scored in five of their first seven innings and took a 10-4 victory over a reeling Diamondbacks team. Meanwhile, the Rays and A’s played another really fun game. Oakland took a lead in the top of the seventh, but their great bullpen couldn’t hold it. Jake Bauers hit a huge homer in the bottom of the eighth, and the Rays went home with a two-run lead. So, the Astros’ lead is back to 3.5 games. Their magic number is 11.

American League Wildcard

With both teams losing, nothing changed in the race for home field in the potential Wildcard Game between the Yankees and A’s. New York holds a 1.5-game lead in that race. Meanwhile, the Mariners and Rays both have elimination numbers of seven in their unlikely quest to catch Oakland.

Current AL Playoff Picture

E: Red Sox (1)

C: Indians* (3)

W: Astros (2)

WC1: Yankees (4)

WC2: Athletics (5)


National League East

It’s almost certainly too little, too late, but for the first time in a long time it was a good day for the Phillies on Sunday. First, in Washington, the division-leading Braves issues 14 walks to the Nationals, and you really can’t expect to win games after that. They’d lose handily. Meanwhile, in Philadelphia, the Phillies bullpen tossed seven scoreless innings to lead the team to a one-run victory. Despite all that, they remain 6.5 games out with an elimination number of nine.

National League Central

We all know about Jon Lester’s history in big games, and while a game against the Reds doesn’t exactly qualify, it’s a stretch-run contest as they try to wrap up the division. However you qualify it, the lefty was outstanding and led the Cubs to a 1-0 victory at Wrigley. Meanwhile, the Brewers got a solo homer in their second at bat of the game, but couldn’t score again after that and dropped one to the Pirates by a 3-1 score. Further down the standings, the Cardinals lost their third straight in this huge series against the Dodgers, this time getting shellacked 17-4. So, after all this, the Cubs lead the Brewers by 2.5 games with a magic number of 12, and St. Louis is up to 6.5 back.

National League West

Things have not gone according to plan for the Dodgers this year, but they had a big day on Saturday. Los Angeles started the day trailing Colorado by a half-game, and their blowout win in St. Louis was big. They had to wait all day to see if they could take sole possession in the division, and they did just that with some help from the Giants. The Rockies got shut out by Madison Bumgarner and company in San Francisco, and the Dodgers jumped to the top of the NL West with a half-game lead over Colorado. With their loss in Houston, Arizona is four games back.

National League Wildcard

For the first time in a little while, we have some changes in this race. Milwaukee still controls home field in this race, leading everyone else by at least 3.5 games. The Cardinals had been trailing them for some time now, but with their third straight loss, the NL West has jumped in. Colorado would not play in Milwaukee for the Wildcard Game if the season ended today. They lead the Cardinals by a half-game. Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks are 3.5 back and the Phillies, the only one of these teams to win on Saturday, are 4.5 back.

Current NL Playoff Picture

E: Braves (2)

C: Cubs (1)

W: Dodgers (3)

WC1: Brewers (4)

WC2: Rockies (5)