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MLB Playoff Race Update: Houston and Atlanta punch their tickets

While the AL Wildcard race is a mess heading into the final weekend.

Philadelphia Phillies v Atlanta Braves Photo by Adam Hagy/Getty Images

With time running out in the regular season, the races around the league are coming down to the wire. That does include the American League wildcard, in which the Red Sox are stuck in a tight race, but also the rest of the league as well. For those interested in that league-wide picture, we’ll be providing a daily update the rest of the season on the state of races around baseball.

American League East

The Rays have already clinched this division as well as the top overall seed in the American League.

American League Central

The White Sox have already clinched this division.

American League West

The Astros entered play on Thursday with a magic number of one to clinch this division, and with the Mariners having the day off they couldn’t rely on a loss from Seattle to get the job done. They needed to rely on themselves and get a win against the Rays, which they did. Thanks to a strong day from their pitching staff, anchored by Lance McCullers Jr., Houston eked by with a one-run win to officially wrap up the AL West.

American League Wildcard

Here is where things get sad. We know what happened with the Red Sox, who dropped their second in three games against the Orioles. We also know that Seattle was off, leaving us with just the rubber match between the Yankees and Blue Jays up in Toronto. Aaron Judge led the way for New York, crushing two moonshot home runs en route to a 6-2 Yankees victory. With all of that, the Yankees now have a firm spot on the top seed for this race, holding a two-game lead with three to go. The second spot, however, is still very much up for grabs, with Boston and Seattle now in a tie while Toronto trails by just a game. This one is going to come down to the wire.

National League East

After taking down the Phillies in the first two games of their series earlier in the week, Atlanta had all but wrapped up the division, but were still looking to make it official on Thursday with a win and a sweep. Philadelphia did make it a bit interesting there at the end to close the gap to two runs, but that was as close as it’d get as the Braves did indeed complete the sweep and make it four straight division titles. They’ll take on the Brewers in the NLDS.

National League Central

The Brewers have already clinched this division.

National League West

So, besides the American League Wildcard, that just leaves the National League West as the only other race that has yet to be decided. Both the Giants and the Dodgers are guaranteed a playoff spot already as the two best clubs in baseball by record, but only one will be able to avoid the one-game Wildcard Game showdown. Facing one of the worst clubs in baseball, it seemed like the Giants might blow an opportunity against the Diamondbacks on Thursday, falling behind 3-0 right off the bat. But they’d work their way back, and ultimately a walkoff single from LaMonte Wade gave the Giants a key victory. It proved all the more important as the Dodgers had no trouble at all completing a sweep over the Padres. With that, the Giants maintain their two-game lead over the Dodgers and have a magic number of two.

National League Wildcard

This race is essentially wrapped up. Whoever loses the battle for the NL West will host the Cardinals in the NL Wildcard Game.