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MLB Playoff Picture Update 9/9: The Cubs drop two in Washington

And Milwaukee picks up ground in the wildcard race

MLB: Game 2-Chicago Cubs at Washington Nationals Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

American League East

As we know, the Red Sox lost another disappointing one on Saturday when Eduardo Rodriguez couldn’t make it out of the fourth and the lineup couldn’t cash in on the opportunities they themselves created. It was frustrating! To make matters even more frustrating, the Yankees were able to pick up another game with another victory out in Seattle. New York got solid pitching from Lance Lynn and company for a 4-2 victory, dropping Boston’s lead in the division down to 7.5 games. The magic number remains at 13.

American League Central

The Indians used a seven-run fifth to squeak by Toronto with a one-run victory on the road, and with Minnesota dropping a game to the Royals, Cleveland’s lead is up to 16.5 games. That race is essentially over, of course, and the magic number to make it official is just five.

American League West

Houston, of course, got their sixth consecutive victory on Saturday with the win at Fenway, meaning they couldn’t lose any ground in the American League West. Unfortunately for them, they couldn’t gain any ground either because Oakland won yet another game, this time thanks to a late go-ahead homer from Matt Olson. The A’s took a two-run victory over Texas, and they trail the Astros by 3.5 games out in the West. Houston’s magic number is 17.

American League Wildcard

So, at this point it’s becoming more and more clear that the only wildcard race worth caring about is the one for homefield in the winner-take-all game. The Yankees still hold that edge, and with both teams winning on Saturday their lead in that department still sits at 3.5 games. With the Mariners dropping that game to the Yankees and Oakland picking up their victory, they drop to a whopping 7.5 games out of the playoffs. They are on the verge of being passed by the Rays, who beat Baltimore on Saturday and are eight games out of the wildcard.

Current AL Playoff Picture

E: Red Sox (1)

C: Indians (3)

W: Astros (2)

WC1: Yankees (4)

WC2: Athletics (5)

National League East

After splitting the first two games of the series out in the desert, the Braves and Diamondbacks needed extra innings to decide Saturday’s game. Atlanta got two in the top of the tenth, and it seemed as though Arizona would be able to tie it up in the bottom of the inning but Dansby Swanson made a great defensive play to get the final out at the plate and clinch the victory. The Phillies, meanwhile, gave up ten runs to the Mets and lost a game in the division. Atlanta now holds a 3.5-game lead in the NL East with a magic number of 18.

National League Central

The Cubs and Nationals were rained out on Friday, giving Chicago a couple of chances to build upon their lead in the NL Central. Instead, they got blown out in the first game in Washington before losing a one-run game thanks to a seventh-inning blast from Bryce Harper, and the Cubs were swept in the doubleheader. Only the Brewers were able to take advantage, as they snuck past the Giants in a one-run victory while the Cardinals dropped a one-run game in Detroit, a second straight disappointing loss against a bad team. After all that action, the Cubs hold a 2.5-game lead over the Brewers while their lead over the Cardinals sits at five games. Chicago’s magic number is 18.

National League West

So, we know the Diamondbacks couldn’t keep pace with their tough loss on Saturday against the Braves, and the other two teams — the Rockies and the Dodgers — are facing off this weekend. Los Angeles grabbed the first game of this big series, but Colorado got one back in the second game thanks to a strong performance on the mound from Kyle Freeland. With the win, the Rockies hold a 1.5-game lead over the Dodgers and a 2.5-game lead over Arizona. Colorado’s magic number is 20.

National League Wildcard

The Brewers firmed up their grasp on homefield in the Wildcard Game with their victory on Saturday, and they were the only wildcard contender to go home with a win. St. Louis is still in the second wildcard spot, trailing Milwaukee by 2.5 games. The Dodgers trail the Cardinals by one game, and the Diamondbacks trail by two while the Phillies find themselves 3.5 games out. It could be worth mentioning that the Pirates have won five in a row, are back to a .500 record and only seven games out, though it seems like too little too late in Pittsburgh.

Current NL Playoff Picture

E: Atlanta (3)

C: Chicago (1)

W: Colorado (2)

WC1: Milwaukee (4)

WC2: St. Louis (5)