American League East
The Yankees’ main concern does not really lie in the division but rather trying to claim at least home field through the American League side of the bracket, if not through the entire postseason. That is their biggest reason to go for wins right now rather than rest player, though they got a rest on Wednesday thanks to a postponement. That did provide Tampa Bay an opportunity to gain a little bit of ground, but they could not. The Rays lost a high-scoring affair in a one-run game to the Rangers. With the loss, the Rays fell to 8.5 games back and the Yankees magic number to clinch the East is eight.
American League Central
The Twins took care of business in their opening game against the Nationals, but it’s tough to do so twice in a row against a good team fighting for its playoff lives. Washington jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning and never looked back, eventually grabbing a 6-2 victory on Wednesday. The Indians, meanwhile, were able to take advantage of this opportunity and escaped L.A. with a one-run win over the Angels. With the win, Cleveland pulled to within four games of the Twins, whose magic number to clinch is 13.
American League West
The first two games of the series between the first place Astros and second place Athletics has been wild, with each side claiming a double-digit victory. This one was a much more standard and close baseball game. Oakland got a big pitching performance from rookie Jesus Luzardo in his MLB debut and used a four-run sixth to give themselves a two-run victory. Even with the loss, Houston leads by 8.5 games with a magic number of eight.
American League Wildcard
Things tightened up a bit in this race, with the Rays losing ground for what seems like the first time in a long time. Tampa Bay was the only one of the three contenders to lose on Wednesday, but they still hold the top spot in this race. That cushion over the A’s is only a half-game now, though, and Oakland’s lead over Cleveland is also only a half-game.
National League East
This division is, clearly, the Braves’ to lose, but the Nationals still are going to fight until the very end. As mentioned above, Washington got a win over the Twins on Wednesday, while the Braves were playing the Phillies, another team fighting for a postseason berth. Atlanta was able to pull this one out, taking a low-scoring affair in a 3-1 victory. With that, the Braves’ 9.5-game lead holds steady and their magic number, like New York and Houston, sits at eight.
National League Central
This is the best division race in baseball right now, and it became a little better on Wednesday night. The Cardinals have been playing good baseball in the second half, but they couldn’t get anything going in Colorado last night. The Rockies didn’t get much going either, but still managed to win a 2-1 game. That gave Chicago and Milwaukee chances to climb back in it, but only one did. The Cubs lost a second straight game in San Diego, this time getting shut out by the Padres. The Brewers, now without Christian Yelich, were able to sneak past the Marlins. So, the Cardinals still lead the division by four games, but the Brewers are now tied with the Cubs for second place in that race. St. Louis’ magic number is 14.
National League West
The Dodgers have already clinched this division.
National League Wildcard
Here’s what we know: The Nationals won, the Cubs lost, the Brewers won and the Phillies lost. That leaves the Mets and Diamondbacks, who were still playing each other in their series in New York. This one wasn’t close, with the Mets jumping out to a huge 5-0 lead in the first and never looking back, eventually going home with a 9-0 victory. The Nationals still have a fairly comfortable lead atop this race, with a 3.5-game cushion in the top spot. However, the Cubs are no longer alone in second, now tie with the Brewers for that second wildcard slot. The Mets and Phillies, meanwhile, both trail by two games with the Diamondbacks 2.5 games back.