Three of baseball’s divisions are spoken for. The Houston Astros, Cleveland Indians and Washington Nationals have claimed their crowns and are now jostling for postseason positions. There’s still plenty of business to be determined, however.
The Los Angeles Dodgers should be the next team to clinch their division, which is the main MLB postseason storyline this week. You also need to keep an eye on the magic numbers for the red-hot Chicago Cubs, winners of six straight, and the Boston Red Sox, who have to fend off the New York Yankees in the AL East.
The Colorado Rockies and Seattle Mariners have big weeks ahead and the Yankees/Twins meet in a possible wild-card preview. Here’s what you should watch for around baseball this week:
MAGIC NUMBER WATCH: DODGERS
Now that they’re winning again, the Los Angeles Dodgers have the NL West crown in their sights. Their magic number is four entering play Monday, with four games in Philadelphia followed by three more against the San Francisco Giants at home starting Friday. The Dodgers have now won four of five since snapping that 11-game winning streak. They also have a three-win advantage over the Indians for best record in MLB and home-field advantage should they get to the World Series.
MUCH-HIGHER MAGIC NUMBER WATCH: RED SOX/CUBS
Odds aren’t particularly high that we’ll see another division title clinched this week. Entering play Monday, the Chicago Cubs’ magic number is 10 — and that’s after the six-game winning streak they’re currently riding. The Boston Red Sox are sitting at an 11 magic number, and the AL East might still be the most competitive division with the Yankees just three games back. The Brewers are four back of the Cubs. If the Cubs stay hot, though, that’s just going to increase.
IT’S A GOOD WEEK TO BE …
The Colorado Rockies, who are currently holding the second NL wild card. The Brewers are their chief competition there and they’re two-and-a-half games back. The Rockies would be well served to win a bunch of games in a row to tighten their grasp on the postseason spot— and this might be the week to do it since they’re facing the bottom of the NL West. They’ve got two games against the Giants starting Tuesday then four against the San Diego Padres. The Rockies are a combined 22-10 against both teams this season.
SERIES TO WATCH
The New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins tussle for three games in the Bronx starting Monday. They’re currently the AL’s two wild-card teams, with the Yankees having a more firm grasp on the postseason. The Twins are fending off the Los Angeles Angels, who are two games back. So this could impact the wild-card standings — or it could be a preview of the wild-card playoff. Either way, worth keeping an eye on.
THE TEAM THAT NEEDS TO START WINNING
The Seattle Mariners, who own the longest postseason drought in baseball, are still hanging around in the AL wild-card race. They’ve lost three in a row, however, and their season may not be able to withstand much more. The Mariners start up a three-game series at home against the Texas Rangers (who they’ve fared well against this season) on Tuesday and then play three more against the tough Indians. The Mariners are 4.5 back for the second wild-card spot and would have to leapfrog the Angels to get there.
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