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MLB Playoff Update 9/5: Luke Voit’s clutch homer lifts Yanks

And the NL West race is the one to watch this year

New York Yankees v Oakland Athletics Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

For those who weren’t here last year, or just don’t remember, this is the time of year that we take a look at the league as a whole. With the minor-league season being over, we have an empty time slot and it just so happens to be the time of year where playoff races really heat up. Every day I’ll give a quick update on the previous day’s happenings and how they affected each race around the league. Hope you find it helpful.

American League East

The Red Sox, of course, won on Tuesday thanks to a big night from Steve Pearce. They headed into the day with an 8.5-game lead in the American League East, and the Yankees are out west so were playing while most of us were going to bed. Well, New York spent the majority of that game losing 1-0, but they’d tie it in the seventh before Luke Voit hit a homer off Fernando Rodney in the eighth to take the lead. The Yankees would eventually go home with a 5-1 victory, keeping the margin in the division at 8.5 games.

American League Central

This isn’t a race. The Indians started with an 18-game lead and left the day with a 19-game lead.

American League West

The Astros were supposed to run away with this division, but they can’t seem to totally shake the A’s. We already know Oakland lost to New York in disappointing fashion, and they came into the day trailing Houston by 2.5 games. The Astros got a four-run first inning and a strong start from Justin Verlander, giving them enough to beat the Twins and extend that lead to 3.5 games.

American League Wildcard

Right now, the wildcard seems pretty much wrapped up with the real race being for who will get home field. The current Yankees-A’s series appears to be a Wildcard Game preview, and with the win the Yankees have a 4.5-game edge on that. Seattle is the next team back in that race, but they couldn’t capitalize on Oakland’s loss. The Mariners dropped one to the Orioles and remain 5.5 games back for a playoff spot. It’s also worth mentioning that the Rays won again, shutting out the Blue Jays and they are sneakily just seven games out of the playoffs.

Current AL Playoff Picture

E: Red Sox (1)

C: Indians (3)

W: Astros (2)

WC1: Yankees (4)

WC2: Athletics (5)

Chicago Cubs v Milwaukee Brewers Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

National League East

The National League is wild this year, and the Red Sox are currently in Atlanta facing the NL East leaders. They have been benefitting from an awful run by the Phillies of late and headed into Tuesday’s action with a four-game lead. We know the Braves lost yesterday, and the Phillies offense had a big day en route to a five-run lead over the Marlins. With the victory, Philadelphia pulled back within three of the division lead.

National League Central

You may have heard about the new little beef between the Cubs and Brewers when Cole Hamels declared it’s not a rivalry since Cub fans flood to Milwaukee whenever they play. Maybe he shouldn’t have said that? Chicago and Milwaukee are currently facing off at Miller Park, and the Cubs started the day with a four-game lead after the Brewers took the first game of the series. They’d take game number two as well in blowout fashion, and suddenly the Cubs lead was back down to just three games. The Cardinals are right there as well, and while their bullpen tried their best to blow Tuesday’s game in Washington they left with a win to pick up a game on the Cubs. St. Louis is 4.5 games back in the division.

National League West

This is easily the race of the year, with the Rockies, Diamondbacks and Dodgers all hanging out within a game or two for the last few weeks. It’s going to be fascinating to watch this three-team race down the stretch. Colorado started Tuesday with a half-game lead over the Dodgers and a 1.5-game lead over Arizona. The Rockies came through with a huge seventh-inning rally to beat the Giants, the Dodgers crushed the Mets and the Diamondbacks shut out the Padres. So, the margins stay the same for one day, at least.

National League Wildcard

If the NL West isn’t the race of the year, it’s the NL wildcard. The team or two that loses each division race is going to be right in the thick of this race as well, and right now there are five teams for two spots all within five games. The Brewers, Cardinals, Dodgers, Diamondbacks and Phillies are the competitors, and all five teams won on Tuesday. Milwaukee has the top wildcard with 1.5-game cushion over the Cardinals, who possess the second wildcard spot. The Dodgers are one game behind St. Louis, Arizona trails by two games and the Phillies lag behind by 3.5 games as of now.

Current NL Playoff Picture

E: Braves (T-2)

C: Cubs (1)

W: Rockies (T-2)

WC1: Brewers (4)

WC2: Cardinals (5)