There are two weeks left in the season. The Dodgers clinched at least a wild card spot the day after my last update. No team has clinched a division yet. The NL East and NL West will come down to the last weekend—because the Dodgers and Giants are that good, and the NL East is…well…the NL East and somebody has to win.
Let’s go division by division this time:
AL East—The Rays slowed down a tad this past week, but their magic number is down to 5 over the Red Sox (4 over the Blue Jays, 3 to eliminate the Yankees from division contention). Right now, the top 3 contenders for the 2 wild card spots are all in the AL East (making the Rays’ magic number to clinch one of those 4). The O’s are already eliminated.
AL Central—It’s division title or bust here. The Cleveland Baseball Team is down to a black magic number of 3 from wild card elimination. The Tigers are eliminated from the wild card with their next loss, Blue Jays win, or two Yankees wins, whichever comes first. The White Sox will be the team to not bust—their magic number to clinch the division is 2. The Royals and Twins are already eliminated.
AL West—The Astros have a magic number for the division title of 8. In the wild card chase, the A’s and Mariners are still lurking at 1.5 and 3.5 games back, respectively. The Angels, already eliminated from the division race, have a black magic number of 2 to be eliminated from the wild card too. The Rangers are already eliminated.
NL East—I’ve already mentioned this is a tight race between the Phillies and Braves. The Mets are not yet eliminated though; they have a black magic number of 9 in the division and 6 in the wild card race. The Marlins and Nationals are already eliminated.
NL Central—ESPN incorrectly, for now, has the Brewers clinched for a playoff spot. The #2 wild card spot is currently held by the Cardinals—making their playoff and division magic number the same: 3. The Catds, meanwhile, have achieved a little separation in that wild card race, with a magic number of 10 over the Reds and Padres 9 over the Phillies, 6 over the Mets, and 4 over the Rockies. The Cubs and Pirates are already eliminated.
NL West—Preseason it seemed this could be an epic division battle between 2 teams likely to have the two best records in baseball, possibly both exceeding 100 wins…and it is! Only it’s the Giants and Dodgers, not the Padres and Dodgers. Indeed, the Padres are lagging the Cardinals by 4 games for the final playoff spot. They’re already eliminated from the division. A bit surprisingly, the Rockies are still alive (barely) for the wild card (black magic number 4). The Diamondbacks are already eliminated.