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MLB Playoff Picture Update 9/27: The NL is going down to the wire

Three of the four races, at least.

Pittsburgh Pirates v Chicago Cubs Photo by David Banks/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

The Astros have clinched the American League West

American League Wildcard

The lone race remaining in the American League is not one for a playoff spot — we know the five teams who will be playing in October — but rather for positioning. The Yankees and Athletics are still playing for home field in the Wildcard Game, and it’s a pretty big deal given just how far the travel will be for the team on the losing end. The Yankees are leading right now, but they coughed up a big of that lead on Thursday. The Rays lineup overpowered the Yankees pitching, and while New York made it interesting at the end it was too little, too late. Meanwhile, out west, the A’s slugged their way to an easy 9-3 win over Seattle. So, the Yankees’ lead over Oakland is now down to 1.5 games.

Current AL Playoff Picture

E: Red Sox* (1)

C: Indians* (3)

W: Astros* (2)

WC1: Yankees (4)

WC2: Athletics (5)

National League East

The Braves have clinched the National League East

National League Central

The NL is where the action is, and that certainly includes this division. The Brewers are chasing here, but they are doing everything they can to make the Cubs sweat it out. Milwaukee had a huge series in St. Louis this week, and after taking the first two they were out looking for a sweep on Wednesday. Thanks to a bizarre play where the tying run for the Cardinals tripped and fell on his way home, the Brewers hung on for a 2-1 victory, officially clinching a playoff berth. With a Cubs loss, Milwaukee would take the lead in the division. Chicago did their best to lose it, allowing four runs in the last two innings to force extras, but the Cubs would walk it off in the bottom of the tenth. As a result, they remain a half-game up on Milwaukee in this race.

National League West

This race is just as exciting as the one out in the Central, and possible moreso because the loser isn’t guaranteed a playoff spot. The Dodgers came into the day with a half-game lead over the Rockies and they were playing a reeling Diamondbacks squad. It didn’t matter as Arizona got a few big home runs and was able to jump out to a four-run win over the NL West favorites. Meanwhile, the Rockies were not messing around against the Phillies. German Marquez struck out the first eight batters he faced and Colorado eventually went home with a 14-0 victory. These results flipped the standings in the West, with the Rockies now holding a half-game lead over the Dodgers. For now.

National League Wildcard

For all of the madness in the divisions, the runners ups are all going to be duking it out here. The good news for whoever loses the Central is that they have both clinched playoff spots and are guaranteed home field in a Wildcard Game. Now, it’s a two-team race for the second wildcard spot between the loser of the NL West race and the Cardinals. St. Louis had controlled this spot for a while, but they got swept by Milwaukee at the worst possible time. So, for now, the Dodgers are the second wildcard team with a full-game lead over the Cardinals. This whole NL is going right down to the wire.

Current NL Playoff Picture

E: Braves* (2)

C: Cubs (1)

W: Rockies (3)

WC1: Brewers (4)

WC2: Dodgers (5)