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MLB Playoff Picture Update 9/26: The NL Races are tightening up

It’s going to be fun in the NL down the stretch

Milwaukee Brewers v St Louis Cardinals Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

American League East

The Red Sox have clinched the American League East.

American League Central

The Indians have clinched the American League Central.

American League West

Well, once Tuesday’s action was all wrapped up, so were all three of the American League divisions. It’s no major surprise that this one ended up getting locked up relatively early, but there was some hope at least it would come down to the wire. Houston, to their credit, came out East and took care of business behind Alex Bregman and a strong performance on the mound from Josh James. The Astros beat the Blue Jays 4-1 for their 100th win. Then, back out West in Seattle, the Athletics’ bullpen had a rare off night, allowing two in the eighth and one in the ninth to tie it before the Mariners won in the 11th on a walk-off blast from Chris Hermann. So, with the Astros win and Athletics loss, the Astros have clinched the division and are locked into home field in an ALDS matchup against the Indians.

American League Wildcard

With the A’s losing a heartbreaking game in Seattle, the Yankees had a chance to get a firm grip on home field in the Wildcard Game, which we now know for sure will be between New York and Oakland. The Yankees are playing good baseball at the right time, and they used a seven-run third inning to cruise to a 9-2 victory in Tampa Bay. They now hold a 2.5-game lead over Oakland with a magic number of three to clinch home field. The Red Sox have an interesting decision as to whether or not they should go all-out in that final series of the year.

Current AL Playoff Picture

E: Red Sox* (1)

C: Indians* (3)

W: Astros* (2)

WC1: Yankees (4)

WC2: Athletics (5)

Houston Astros v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

National League East

The Braves have clinched the National League East.

National League Central

The biggest series of the week is taking place in St. Louis between the two teams battling for both the Wildcard and for the NL Central crown behind the Cubs. The Brewers took the first game over the Cardinals, and were looking to take another one to ensure a real race in the Central down the stretch. Christian Yelich padded his MVP case with a six-RBI night and Milwaukee cruised to an easy 12-4 victory. Meanwhile, in Chicago, the Cubs were trying to avoid losing two straight to the Pirates, but Chris Archer had different ideas. The former Ray tossed six scoreless innings to lead Pittsburgh to a 6-0 win. So, while the Cardinals stayed at 4.5 games out, the Brewers are now within a half-game of the Cubs — one back in the loss column. This race is going down to the wire.

National League West

Speaking of races that are going down to the wire, the Dodgers have been red-hot of late and took a division lead that had eluded them so much this year. However, the Rockies were not going to let them get away and they’ve been playing very good baseball as well. That continued on Tuesday when Colorado ran away from the Phillies and ended up with an easy 10-3 victory. Then, in Arizona, the Diamondbacks finally showed a bit of life. It’s too late for their playoff hopes, but they played the role of spoiler here when Eduardo Escobar smashed a walk-off homer to drop the Dodgers. So, these two teams are now tied in the loss column with the Dodgers leading the Rockies by a half-game in the standings.

National League Wildcard

The West and Central are great divisional races, and the runners up in those races are making for an exciting race to the finish in the Wildcard. The Brewers taking the first two games of their series in St. Louis is huge in terms of them clinching home field in the Wildcard Game, and they now lead by 3.5 in that race. Below them, it’s between the Cardinals and Rockies. The former had been leading this one for a long time, but Colorado reclaimed a playoff spot with their win and St. Louis’ loss to Milwaukee. The Rockies now hold the second wildcard spot, leading St. Louis by one in the loss column and a half-game overall.

Current NL Playoff Picture

E: Braves* (2)

C: Cubs (1)

W: Dodgers (3)

WC1: Brewers (4)

WC2: Rockies (5)