MLB postseason picture: Brewers continue to gain ground on the Cubs in NL Central

September is upon us and every race in Major League Baseball is headed for the home stretch. That’s why every night between now and the end of the regular season, Yahoo Sports will bring you an updated look at the MLB postseason picture.

Take heed, Cole Hamels — the Milwaukee Brewers (and their fans) don’t care whether you’re impressed by their rivalry with the Chicago Cubs.

The Brewers, playing in Game 2 of what’s starting to look like a pivotal series against the Cubs, stomped division-leading Chicago on Tuesday to the tune of 11-1. When it was over, Brewers fans flew a giant “L” flag, a not-so-subtle shot at the Cubs’ famous “W” flag.

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This one was a thorough beating by the Brew Crew, who fell behind 1-0 in the second inning then score 11 unanswered runs. The more important result? The Brewers are now just three games out in the NL Central. Compare that to a week ago, when they were in third place and six games back.

Milwaukee Brewers’ Orlando Arcia reacts next to Chicago Cubs’ Victor Caratini (7) after hitting a double during the seventh inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)

Key Postseason Races

NL Wild Card: We’ll start with the NL Wild Card today, because it looks like what happens in the NL Central might factor heavily there. The Cardinals got back to their winning ways (11-8 over the Nats). At the moment, the Cards and Brewers own the two NL Wild-Card spots, with Milwaukee holding a 1.5 game lead.

NL West: Here’s the NL’s tighter division, where the Rockies, Dodgers and D-backs all won Tuesday night. That means nothing changes: The Rockies have a half-game lead over L.A., with Arizona 1.5 back. Meanwhile, the Dodgers are a game behind the Cardinals for a wild-card spot and the D-backs are two back.

NL East: The Philadelphia Phillies gained a game on the first-place Atlanta Braves. The Phils beat the Marlins 9-4 while the Red Sox beat the Braves for the second straight day. Atlanta’s lead in the division is now three games.

AL East: The Red Sox and the Yankees both won — the Red Sox 5-1 over the Braves, the Yankees beating the A’s by the same score — so Boston maintain its 8.5 game lead in the division.

AL West: The Houston Astros beat the Twins, the Oakland Athletics lost to the Yankees, which widens Houston’s lead to 3.5 games.

AL Wild Card: It’s still the Yankees and A’s here. By beating the A’s, the Yankees now have a 4.5 lead for the first spot. The Seattle Mariners, who are hanging on by a thread, lost to the Orioles and are 5.5 behind the A’s.

The Yankees beat the A’s 5-1 to stay on pace with the Red Sox and add to their wild-card lead. (AP)

Magic Number Watch

Cleveland Indians — 10: The Indians are the only team in MLB right now, who are in Magic Number mode, and they got a little closer Tuesday night. The Indians beat the Royals and the second-place Twins lost to the Astros, knocking down Cleveland’s Magic Number to 10.

Elimination Watch

Five teams have been eliminated from postseason contention so far — the Baltimore Orioles, Kansas City Royals, Chicago White Sox, Detroit Tigers and San Diego Padres. Next up? The Texas Rangers and Miami Marlins, who both have an elimination number of two.

Wednesday’s Must-See Game

Let’s stick with Cubs-Brewers here, because a Brewers sweep of Chicago could be huge for their playoff hopes. The Cubs are sending Jose Quintana (11-9, 4.21 ERA) to the mound, while the Brewers counter with Jhoulys Chacín (14-5, 3.53 ERA). First pitch is at 8:10 p.m. ET.