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MLB Playoff Race Update: Checking in on all the races

We’ll do this every day the rest of the way.

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San Diego Padres v St Louis Cardinals Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

With just a couple weeks left in the 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

It really wasn’t that long ago that it looked like the Red Sox would be in this race all season, and at least it would be interesting to the end, but that no longer appears to be the case. We know the Red Sox did finish off their sweep against the Orioles on Sunday. The Rays, meanwhile, were hosting the Tigers but had their offense totally shut down. Wily Peralta has been quietly awesome this season, and he tossed seven shutout innings in a Detroit win. Tampa Bay’s lead in the division now stands at 6.5 games, and their magic number is six.

American League Central

The White Sox are all but running away with this division, but things aren’t quite wrapped up yet. That said, they did take care of their business on Sunday, riding a four-run fourth to a relatively easy win over the Rangers to bring their record to 85-64. Cleveland, meanwhile, did the Red Sox a favor by putting a hurting on Gerrit Cole, with Eddie Rosario hitting for the cycle, while seeing only five pitches, in a blowout win over the Yankees. Chicago’s lead in this division is a whopping 11 games, and their magic number is down to four.

New York Yankees v Cleveland Indians
Eddie Rosario on his way to a cycle
Photo by: 2021 George Kubas/Diamond Images via Getty Images

American League West

None of the three divisions in the American League are all that enticing coming down the stretch, but the west is just barely the closest. Houston had control of the division starting the day, and they just barely squeaked by for a win on Sunday. Facing a bad Diamondbacks team, they got back-to-back homers in the eighth to propel them to a one-run victory. Meanwhile, Oakland survived a blown save in the ninth to pull out ahead in the 10th and win over the Angels. Houston holds a six-game lead in this division with a magic number of eight.

American League Wildcard

We know the Red Sox and Athletics won while the Yankees lost, leaving just the Blue Jays and Mariners among teams of interest in this race. Toronto was able to take care of business against the Twins, scoring all five of their runs in the first but making that enough in a win. Seattle, meanwhile, scored early and often against the Royals for an easy win, leaving the Yankees as the only wildcard contender to lost. As this stand now, the Red Sox are in the top wildcard spot, and the Blue Jays hold the second spot, trailing Boston by a game. The Yankees are 1.5 games behind Toronto, followed closely by Oakland at two games back while Seattle sits four games out.

National League East

The National League East has just been a bizarre division all year, and it looks like it could come down to the wire with some teams that keep looking like they don’t actually want to win it. The Braves, however, did start the day with the lead and they took care of business on Sunday. Behind seven tremendous shutout innings from Max Fried, they took a 4-0 win over a very good Giants team. Meanwhile, the second-place Phillies took on the Mets on Sunday Night Baseball, and they just left too many runners on base. The result was a one-run loss. The Braves now hold a two-game cushion for the division, and their magic number is 13.

National League Central

With the wildness in the East and the incredible talents in the west, it feels like the Brewers are slipping under the radar as a really good team out in the NL. They hold a commanding lead in this division, though they didn’t look the part on Sunday. Behind a five-run eighth the Cubs were able to take down the Brewers. Meanwhile, the Cardinals were able to withstand a late rally from the Padres to eke by with a one-run win, their eighth in a row. Even with all of that, Milwaukee holds an 11.5-game lead and their magic number is three.

National League West

Both the Giants and the Dodgers are already in the postseason, but they have a very important race to win the division and avoid the wildcard game. San Francisco began the day two games up in the race, but we know they lost their game against the Braves. The Dodgers, meanwhile, hit three home runs early against old friend Wade Miley and came away with a three-run win over the Reds. These results tightened the race, and the Giants hold a lead of just one game now in the division.

National League Wildcard

We know already the results for all the contenders in this race. The Dodgers and Cardinals both won their games while the Reds, Phillies, and Padres all lost. Los Angeles is way out in front here, holding onto the top spot by a whopping 16 games. St. Louis, meanwhile, holds the second spot with a three-game lead over the Reds and a 3.5-game cushion over both San Diego and Philadelphia.