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 had already clinched the division prior to Wednesday. They’ve also clinched the top overall seed in the American League.
American League Central
The White Sox had already clinched the division prior to Wednesday.
American League West
This is the little division that could, one that seems as though it could be clinched early in the week but was still alive heading into Wednesday. Houston just needed a win or a Seattle loss to finish this one up. They got neither. The Rays had absolutely no trouble taking down the Astros, winning a 7-0 blowout with four pitchers combining to give up just three hits all night. Meanwhile, Seattle refuses to quit and is just beating up on the Athletics. They finished their second straight sweep over Oakland on Wednesday, winning 4-2 with all of the runs being scored in the final four innings. Houston’s magic number here remains at one.
American League Wildcard
We know what the Red Sox did on Wednesday, which is take care of business and win a 6-0 game over the Orioles. We also know that Seattle once again did what they needed to do. Meanwhile, the big series in this race is between Toronto and New York, with the Yankees having taken the first game. The Blue Jays were able to answer back on Wednesday, getting ahead early, letting the Yankees come back in before Bo Bichette came through in the clutch and the Blue Jays won by a run. As a result, the only change is that Boston moved to within a game of New York for the top spot in this race, while Seattle and Toronto stayed a half-game and a full game, respectively, behind Boston for the second spot.
National League East
The Phillies’ situation was not looking good even before Wednesday’s game, as they were facing the Braves and needed a sweep to still have a realistic shot at this division. Instead, they lost on Tuesday, and then they followed it up with another loss Wednesday. Max Fried was fantastic, and the Braves won by a comfortable five-run margin. The division is still technically not over, but the two teams play another game on Thursday with the Braves’ magic number at one. They can clinch on Thursday, and if not they clinch with either a win or a Phillies loss.
National League Central
The Brewers had already clinched the division prior to Wednesday.
(I do have to take this time to acknowledge the injury to Devin Williams, who punched a wall in a drunken celebration and will miss the entire postseason. Obviously the injury and how it occurred is bad, but I’m really flabbergasted that he went out there and told the truth. Wild decision.)
National League West
This race has been thrilling to watch these last couple of weeks with the two best teams in baseball duking it out for the chance to avoid a one-game playoff. The Giants entered the day in the driver’s seat, and leaned on their pitching to keep the wins coming. Alex Wood tossed six shutout innings while the bullpen followed up with three more, allowing San Francisco to beat Arizona by a slim 1-0 margin. That put some pressure on the Dodgers. They were trailing the Padres 9-6 heading into the bottom of the eighth, but they hit four homers in that inning to take the lead and ultimately win. The Giants still hold a two-game lead with a magic number of three to clinch.
National League Wildcard
This race is largely decided, and really just comes down to who will host the game. St. Louis is locked in as the second wildcard, and will travel to take on whoever loses the battle in the NL West.