Three. Days. Left.
That’s all that remains of the MLB regular season, but the playoff picture is still a little fuzzy. Who will win the NL West? Which team will claim the home-field advantage in the ALDS matchup between the Astros and White Sox? And how the heck will the jumbled mess that is the AL Wild Card race play out. That’s take a look at where things stand heading into this final weekend.
AL Playoff Picture
AL WILD CARD MATCHUP (OCT. 5)
Red Sox or Mariners at Yankees
The New York Yankees can clinch the No. 1 Wild Card spot as soon as today. They would need to beat the Tampa Bay Rays in the Bronx and then see the Red Sox and Mariners both lose.
The Yanks are in good position to make the playoffs, but it is anyone’s guess as to who will grab that second Wild Card. The Boston Red Sox and the Seattle Mariners currently share it, and each team is going in opposite directions. Boston has lost five of six, including two of three versus the cellar-dwelling Baltimore Orioles. They will visit another also-ran team this weekend, the Washington Nationals.
Meanwhile, Seattle is 9-1 in its past 10 games and is on the doorstep of its first postseason appearance in 20 years. It will wrap the regular season with a three-game series at home against the Los Angeles Angels.
And don’t forget about the Toronto Blue Jays. They have stumbled of late but are just one game out and will host the Orioles for three games.
AL DIVISIONAL ROUND MATCHUPS (STARTS OCT. 7)
Wild Card Game winner at Rays
Chicago White Sox at Houston Astros
These matchups are close to being set in stone. While the Rays would probably love to spoil the Yankees’ chances, they must be more focused on getting healthy and squared away for the playoffs. They have won 98 games — the most in franchise history — and will have home-field advantage throughout the AL playoffs.
The Astros lead the White Sox by two games for home field in the ALDS. Houston, which clinched the AL West on Friday night, will host the Oakland Athletics this weekend while the White Sox will take on the Detroit Tigers.
NL Playoff Picture
NL WILD CARD MATCHUP (OCT. 6)
St. Louis Cardinals at Los Angeles Dodgers
St. Louis’ historic 17-game win streak finally ended on Thursday. Now, they must prep for (probably) the Dodgers, who, despite being 40-13 since the start of August, have gained only one game in the NL West standings during that span. The Cards will host the archrival Chicago Cubs this weekend while the Dodgers will face the NL Central champions, the Milwaukee Brewers.
NL DIVISIONAL ROUND MATCHUPS (STARTS OCT. 8)
Wild Card Game winner at San Francisco Giants
Atlanta Braves at Milwaukee Brewers
The star-laden Dodgers are probably going to be in the Wild Card game because the Giants, the most surprising team of the season, just won’t let up. They will end the regular season with three home games versus the disappointing San Diego Padres. The Giants are two games ahead of L.A. and their magic number to clinch the NL West is two.
The Braves won the NL East for the fourth consecutive year on Friday. They will play the Mets this weekend before packing their bags for Milwaukee.