With the calendar flipping to September, it is time to shift our focuses away from the minors and into the playoff chases around the league. The minor-league season will continue for a bit longer — the regular season ended on Monday, but Lowell and Salem will be in the postseason after that — but the year is basically over. So, for the rest of the MLB regular season we will have daily updates on the playoff chases around the league. If you’re only here for Red Sox stuff and don’t really care about the league as a whole, that’s cool! This post probably won’t be for you, though.
American League East
The Yankees are counting down the days until they can officially claim this division. They took care of business in a blowout victory over the Rangers on Tuesday behind a strong performance from James Paxton and five homers. The Rays, meanwhile, had a doubleheader against the Orioles where they dropped the first game before salvaging a split in game number two. The Yankees now hold a 9.5-game lead over Tampa Bay with a magic number of 13.
American League Central
We all know what the team leading this division did on Tuesday, beating up on Rick Porcello early which gave them just enough of a cushion to come away with the victory despite a comeback effort from the Red Sox. That helped them pick up another game in their division, too, with the Indians imploding for a four-run eighth that allowed the White Sox to escape with a one-run victory. The Twins now hold a 6.5-game lead in a division that is becoming increasingly less competitive.
American League West
This remains the Astros division, but they did lose some ground on Tuesday. A four-run third was all the Brewers needed in a 4-2 victory over Houston. Meanwhile, the Athletics held off the Angels in a two-run win, with Oakland picking up a game in this race. Even with that, the Astros still lead the division by 9.5.
American League Wildcard
This race is going to go down to the wire, it seems, even if the Red Sox can’t get themselves truly involved. The Rays, Indians and Sox all lost, but Oakland did come away with a victory at an opportune time to get themselves back up. The A’s and Indians are now tied for the second wildcard spot with the Rays holding a one-game cushion over them. The Red Sox, meanwhile, remain 5.5 back.
National League East
The Braves continue to be perhaps the hottest team in all of baseball, picking up an easy 7-2 win over the Blue Jays on Tuesday. They could not pick up an extra game in the standings, though, because of a miracle in Washington. The Nationals entered the bottom of the ninth trailing by six thanks to a big five-run inning for the Mets in the top of the inning. Washington would come back to score seven in the final frame, though, and walked it off for the win. The Braves’ lead in the East remains at 6.5 games.
National League Central
The Cardinals do not feel like giving up their grip in this division as they are also among the hottest teams in the game. They continued winning on Tuesday thanks to a phenomenal pitching performance from Jack Flaherty pushing them to a 1-0 win over the Giants. The teams behind them did keep pace on this day, though, with the Brewers winning the aforementioned game against the Astros while the Cubs took an easy victory over the Mariners. St. Louis has a three-game lead over Chicago and a seven-game lead over the Brewers.
National League West
In the most lopsided division in the game, the Dodgers just continued to win, this time thanks to some late offense against the Rockies in a two-run win. The Diamondbacks did at least keep pace with the runaway division leader as Arizona survived a late-game scare to escape with a 2-1 win over the Padres. The Dodgers’ lead remains at 18 and their magic number to clinch is down to five.
National League Wildcard
So, we’ve mentioned the wild Nationals win, which is also a wild Mets loss. We’ve also mentioned wins from the Brewers, Cubs and Diamondbacks. That just leaves the Phillies as the only team not mentioned yet in this race, and they also took care of business. Philly ran away with a four-run victory over the Reds. So, with everyone but the Mets winning there wasn’t a whole lot of change in this race. The Nationals hold the top spot with a 3.5-game cushion over the Cubs. The Phillies are the top team on the outside looking in, trailing Chicago by 2.5 games. The Diamondbacks are 3.5 out, the Brewers are four back and the Mets fell back to five games out.