September is upon us, which means 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 we’ll bring you an updated look at the MLB postseason picture.
The most fun postseason race in MLB right now is in the National League West, where the Los Angeles Dodgers, Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies are all vying for the division title.
Right now, the top spot belongs to the Rockies, but things could change quickly. After Sunday’s action — in which the Dodgers beat the Rockies 9-6 — the Dodgers are just a half-game back. The Dodgers pounded the Rockies for 14 hits, scoring two runs in the first inning and never looking back.
The Dodgers won two of three in their crucial series with the Rockies, so they’re leaving the weekend better than they came into it.
The D-backs, meanwhile, had a tough loss for the second straight day. They blew a 4-3 ninth-inning lead, as the Atlanta Braves hung six runs on them in the final frame. It was a 9-5 loss for Arizona. On Saturday, Arizona lost to the Braves in extra innings. All told, Arizona lost three of four to the Braves, leaving the D-backs 2.5 out in the NL West.
What makes things more interesting: The D-backs now visit the Rockies for four games. It could be a make-or-break series for Arizona. The Dodgers head to Cincinnati, hoping they can get hot and zoom past their NL West foes.
The state of MLB’s playoff races
NL East: The aforementioned Braves have to be feeling good about things. While they’ve won two straight, the second-place Philadelphia Phillies have lost two straight (including a 6-4 loss Sunday to the Mets). Entering Monday, the Braves have a 4.5-game division lead. The head to San Francisco next.
NL Central: The Brewers beat the Giants again Sunday by the score of 6-3, completing a sweep that helped them close the gap with the first-place Chicago Cubs to two games. The Cubs, meanwhile, were postponed again against the Washington Nationals. They’ll travel to Milwaukee next, but now they’ll also have to make up a game Thursday against the Nats.
NL wild-card: The Brewers, thanks to their hot streak, have a 2.5 game lead there over the Cardinals, who also won Sunday — beating the Detroit Tigers 5-2. The Dodgers and D-backs trail closely. The Dodgers are a game back, the D-backs are three back.
AL East: The Boston Red Sox got a 6-5 walk-off win against the Houston Astros on Sunday Night Baseball to avoid a sweep. That helped them get back a game in their division lead from the Yankees, who lost 3-2 to the Seattle Mariners but had won the first two games of the series. Boston’s lead in the division is now 8.5 games.
AL West: Houston’s loss also meant the Oakland Athletics made up a game in the standings. The A’s beat the Texas Rangers 7-3 on Sunday to extend their current winning streak to four games. The A’s are 2.5 behind the Astros and now head to Baltimore to face the horrible Orioles. The Astros play the Tigers next, who aren’t all that much better.
AL wild-card: The A’s and Yankees remain the teams in control here. The Yankees have a 2.5 game lead over the A’s for the top spot. The Mariners are next in the standings — but they’re 7.5 behind Oakland, which won’t be easy to make up.
Magic number watch
Cleveland Indians — 5: The AL Central-leading Indians remain the only team with a magic number under 10. Cleveland lost Sunday (6-2 to the Blue Jays) and the second-place Twins won, so the Indians didn’t get any closer to popping champagne. It all remains a formality, though, as Minnesota is 15.5 back in the AL Central
If the playoffs started tomorrow
Wild-card game: A’s at Yankees; Cardinals at Brewers
ALDS: Indians vs. Astros; Wild-card winner vs. Red Sox
NLDS: Rockies vs. Braves; Wild-card winner vs. Cubs
The Cincinnati Reds — who lost to the Padres on Sunday — are the next team looking to face elimination this year. Their elimination number is just one, which means a loss Monday to the Dodgers could be the end of things.
Monday’s must-see game
The Cubs and Brewers are back at it again, starting another three-game series. This time they’re in Chicago and the Brewers are hoping it goes as good as last week’s series in Milwaukee, in which they took two of three. The Brewers are now two games back in the NL Central, so it’s entirely possible they can make up some ground. The Brewers send Wade Miley to the mound against Jon Lester at 8:05 p.m. ET.
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