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 entered, and also exited play, on Tuesday with a magic number of five. Their 4-2 loss to Alek Manoah and the Blue Jays got interesting late when Jordan Romano walked the bases loaded, but Joey Wendle popped out to end the game. Their seven-game lead in the East fell to six over Boston, who we know won, while the Yankees closed within 7.5 games and Toronto down to eight games. More on the latter three teams in the Wildcard section.
American League Central
The White Sox are on cruise control and should clinch the division any day, but lost for the second straight day to the frisky Tigers who are climbing their way back to .500. Dallas Keuchel pitched the most Dallas Keuchel game possible, scattering 11 hits and striking out two over five innings in a no-decision for Chicago. Meanwhile, Cleveland got a three-run triple from Yu Chang and 6 2⁄3 excellent innings from Cal Quantrill to beat Kansas City 4-1, cutting the lead to 10.5 and delaying the inevitable. Chicago’s magic number is still 2.
American League West
The Astros went ahead of the Angels 10-1 with four home runs and completed a 10-5 victory getting a win from Jose Urquidy. Their lead extended to eight games thanks to the Mariners’ 5-2 win over Oakland behind six solid innings from Marco Gonzalez, which evened both of their records at 82-69. Houston’s magic number for the division is four.
American League Wildcard
All of the Wildcard leaders from the East division held serve. The Red Sox overcame an early 2-0 deficit to beat the plummeting Mets 6-3 at Fenway, thanks to four RBI from Xander Bogaerts, to keep a 1.5 game lead in the first wild card spot (one in the loss column) over Toronto. The aforementioned win in Tampa kept the Blue Jays a 1⁄2 game ahead of the Yankees for the second Wildcard spot. The Yankees three, four, and five hitters stole the show in the Bronx, as Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Joey Gallo all went yard in a 7-1 victory over Texas. Seattle’s win over Oakland dropped the A’s to three games behind the second Wildcard spot, tied with Seattle.
National League East
The Phillies stayed within three games of Atlanta, thanks to a dramatic two-run walk-off triple from J.T. Realmuto in the bottom of the tenth against the Orioles on Tuesday night, after an intentional walk to the hottest hitter on the planet, Bryce Harper.
The Braves took care of the Diamondbacks 6-1 but have a long way to go with a magic number of 10 to lock down the division and the third seed in the NL.
National League Central
The Brewers' magic number remains at three as they lost for the second consecutive night to the smoking hot St. Louis Cardinals, 2-1. The Brewers loaded the bases in the ninth against Giovanny Gallegos, but Pablo Reyes struck out swinging to end the threat. The Cardinals have now won ten games in a row, but will almost certainly need a Wildcard spot as they are 9.5 back with 12 to play.
National League West
The Giants and Dodgers are on track for dual 100+ win seasons, in a race reminiscent of the 103-win Giants losing out by one game to the 104-68 Braves in 1993 (and in those days, losing out on a playoff spot, as well).
In 2021, the Giants won a back-and-forth game against San Diego 6-5, winning on a ninth-inning single by LaMonte Wade Jr. The Dodgers also won a late thriller, thanks to an Albert Pujols extra-inning single to take down Colorado 5-4, in ten. The 98-53 Giants hold on to their one-game edge over the Dodgers.
National League Wildcard
The second Wildcard is the only one still up for grabs for the right to go to the NL West runner-up in a one-game playoff. The Cardinals' tenth straight win, discussed in the Central section, combined with a Reds 6-2 loss to Pittsburgh pinned the Reds four games out of the wild card. Meanwhile, the Phillies' extra-inning win over Baltimore kept them within 4.5 games of St. Louis but have a better chance at the division. The Padres loss to San Fran drops them five games out of the second Wildcard spot, and now only two games over .500