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MLB Playoff Picture Update: The Mets get right back in the race

And the A’s take over the top wildcard spot in the AL.

Arizona Diamondbacks v New York Mets Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

American League East

After getting rained out on Wednesday, the Yankees were looking to make up some ground and come one step closer to finishing off this division as soon as possible. They did just that on Thursday in a doubleheader. New York won both ends of the day against the Tigers, though they did lose Gary Sánchez to injury as he heads back to New York to get checked out. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay couldn’t keep pace, dropping a 6-4 game to the Rangers. That allowed the Yankees to pick up a whopping 1.5 games and drop their magic number all the way down to five in the division.

American League Central

Cleveland had a day off on Thursday, giving Minnesota a chance to add a little bit of a cushion before the two clubs play a massive series this weekend. Instead, Twins pitching was beat up by the Nationals and they ended up on the losing end of a 12-6 score. Minnesota is scuffling at the wrong time and has their division lead down to 3.5 with a trip to Cleveland starting on Friday. This is going to be a fun, late-season series.

American League West

Anything that happened this weekend between Oakland and Houston was likely going to be too little too late, as the Astros lead in the division was just too much to overcome. Still, there’s something to be said for a team like the A’s if they can go out and hang with one of the league’s true juggernauts. After getting blown out in the first game of the series, Oakland came roaring back with three straight wins including a narrow 3-2 win on Thursday to finish things off. The A’s trail by 7.5 games and the Astros magic number remains at eight.

American League Wildcard

Oakland winning three of four this week against the Astros wasn’t just a confidence boost, it also was a big result for the wildcard race. With their win and Tampa Bay’s loss, the A’s move to a half-game up on the Rays for the top spot in the wildcard standings. Meanwhile, Cleveland was off and they remain a half-game out of a playoff spot.

National League East

The Braves had a big series this weekend against the Phillies in a potential playoff preview, and Atlanta is just trying to finish off this division as quickly as possible. Thursday just wasn’t their night, though, with the Phillies pulling out a 9-5 victory as they are in a competitive wildcard race that will be discussed below. That loss, combined with the Nationals win, put Atlanta no closer to clinching the East. The Braves still lead the division by 8.5 with their magic number sticking at eight.

National League Central

The Cardinals control their own destiny in this division, and they stayed ahead of the curve on Thursday with a big win over the Rockies. St. Louis’ bats were working early and often and they put up a ten-spot on Colorado in the victory. The Cards couldn’t gain any ground in the division, though, as the teams behind them did the job as well. The Brewers stayed red hot even without Christian Yelich, winning their seventh in a row in a narrow victory over the Marlins to finish off a sweep. Meanwhile, the Cubs got back on track in San Diego behind a big day by Yu Darvish. So, the Cardinals maintained their four-game lead over both the Brewers and Cubs, with their magic number now at 13. The Brewers and Cardinals start a big weekend series on Friday.

National League West

The Dodgers have already clinched this division.

National League Wildcard

Well, we already know that four of the teams involved in this six-team race took care of business on Thursday, with Washington, Chicago, Milwaukee and Philadelphia all getting wins. That leaves just New York and Arizona, who were finishing up a series in Queens. The Mets had a huge week exactly when they needed to, and that continued in this one as their bats exploded in an 11-1 win over the Diamondbacks. With all of that, the standings mostly stay the same. Washington has a 3.5-game cushion in the top spot with Chicago and Milwaukee tied for the second spot. Behind them, the Mets and Phillies trail by two games while the Diamondbacks fall to 3.5 out.