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MLB Playoff Picture Update 9/8: Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers win in Denver

And Masahiro Tanaka tosses eight shutout innings in Seattle.

Los Angeles Dodgers v Colorado Rockies Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

American League East

We know the Red Sox dropped a frustrating one to the Astros on Friday night thanks to a bullpen implosion, so they couldn’t pick up a game on their own. The Yankees made matters worse by taking care of business out west. Masahiro Tanaka continued to be their hottest pitcher and tossed eight shutout innings to lead New York to a 4-0 victory over the Mariners. The Red Sox watched their lead in the division fall to 8.5 games and the magic number sits at 13.

American League Central

The Indians lost an eleven-inning game in Toronto while Minnesota was able to pick up a victory over the Royals on Friday. Despite that, Cleveland still leads that division by 15.5 games with a magic number of 7.

American League West

The division-leading Astros were on the other side of that late-game comeback at Fenway on Friday, giving them their sixth consecutive victory. So, Oakland needed a win to keep pace, and they did just that with a four-run win over the Rangers thanks to a pair of homers from Ramon Laureano. With both teams winning, Houston keeps their lead at 3.5 games with a magic number of 18. Another loss for Seattle put them all the way at ten games back.

American League Wildcard

So, the Yankees and Athletics both went to bed with victories on Friday, meaning the battle for homefield in the Wildcard Game didn’t budge. New York still holds a 3.5-game edge in that race. The Mariners losing to the Yankees knocked them back 6.5 games in this race. Tampa Bay quietly keeps surging in this race as well, and their win behind another strong start from Blake Snell puts them at eight games back. It’s almost certainly too little, too late, but they could easily catch the Mariners.

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 spent the early parts of this week getting swept by the Red Sox and then had to travel west to take on another good team in the Diamondbacks. After Atlanta took the first game, Arizona got one back with a two-run victory over the Braves. Meanwhile, the Phillies were finally able to pick up a game in the division an eighth-inning, game-winning homer from Rhys Hoskins. That series of events puts Philadelphia only 2.5 games behind the Braves for the division.

National League Central

Rain in the nation’s capital prevented the Cubs and Nationals from getting their game in, giving the Brewers and Cardinals a chance to at least pick up a half-game each with wins on Friday. Milwaukee did their part thanks to a two-run, go-ahead double from Jesus Aguilar that proved to be the difference maker against the Giants. St. Louis, meanwhile, gave up a walkoff homer to Jeimer Candelario and failed to take advantage of their chance against the Tigers. With their win, the Brewers moved to within four games of the division while St. Louis fell back to 5.5 games out. The Cubs’ magic number is 18.

National League West

The biggest series in baseball right now is taking place in Denver with the Dodgers and the Rockies. Colorado held a 1.5-game lead of Los Angeles heading into this weekend, but the Dodgers had Clayton Kershaw on the mound for the first game of the three-game set. That was enough to lead them to victory, and they closed the gap to just a half-game. Meanwhile, Arizona also gained some ground with their win over the Braves, bringing them to within 1.5 games in the division. This is going to be a fun one.

National League Wildcard

Milwaukee getting their win kept them at the top of the race for the NL Wildcard, but St. Louis dropping their game gave the Brewers a 1.5-game cushion for home field in a potential matchup. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, they were the only contender to lose on Friday, meaning everyone else picked up a game on them. The Dodgers are one game back in this race, while Arizona trails by two games and the Phillies find themselves 3.5 games back.

Current NL Playoff Picture

E: Braves (3)

C: Cubs (1)

W: Rockies (2)

WC1: Brewers (4)

WC2: Cardinals (5)