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MLB standings: What this weekend means for magic numbers for 2021 playoffs

Teams are locking up spots in the 2021 MLB playoffs. We break down what this weekend’s schedule means for the slate.

Kolten Wong #16 celebrates with Omar Narvaez #10 of the Milwaukee Brewers after Wong hit a solo homer during the first inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on September 12, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

We’re halfway through the month of September and the playoff race is heating up. The San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers have each clinched a playoff spot and the Milwaukee Brewers could join them this weekend if things fall the right way.

With just over two weeks remaining in the regular season, most of the division races are just about locked up. The Brewers and White Sox both have double digit leads in their respective divisions while the Astros and Rays could clinch their divisions later next week. The tight races are in the NL West and East. The Giants and Dodgers are both on track for 100+ wins, and will likely be competing for the NL West title into the final weekend. Meanwhile, the Braves have a three-game lead on the Phillies heading into weekend.

We’ve started tracking magic numbers for teams looking to clinch playoff berths and division titles. The wild card races will go into the final weekend, but in the meantime, here’s a look at what this weekend’s schedule means across the divisions.

AL East

Weekend series

Rays vs. Tigers
Blue Jays vs. Twins
Red Sox vs. Orioles
Yankees vs. Indians

What it means

Toronto and Boston are tied at 8.5 games back heading into Friday, while the Yankees are a half game back of the two of them. The Rays magic number is 8 over Toronto and 7 over Boston and New York.

Saturday update: Tampa and Toronto lost while Boston and New York won. The Rays magic number did not change.

Friday update: Tampa, Boston, and New York all won while Toronto lost. The Rays magic number is down to six.

AL Central

Weekend series schedule

White Sox @ Rangers
Indians @ Yankees

What it means

Chicago’s magic number is seven, which means they cannot clinch the division this weekend. However, if they sweep and Cleveland gets swept, the White Sox would be in position to clinch no worse than a tie with two weeks remaining.

Saturday update: Chicago lost and Cleveland won, so the White Sox magic number did not move.

Friday update: Chicago won and Cleveland lost, which dropped their magic number to five.

AL West

Weekend series schedule

Astros vs. Diamondbacks
Athletics @ Angels
Mariners @ Royals

What it means

Houston’s magic number is 10 over Oakland and 9 over Seattle. The A’s are one game up on the Mariners and have gone back and forth with them the back half of the summer.

Saturday update: Houston lost and Oakland won, so the Astros magic number did not move.

Friday update: Houston, Oakland, and Seattle all won, so Houston’s magic number is down to nine.

NL East

Weekend series schedule

Braves @ Giants
Phillies @ Mets

What it means

Atlanta has a long way to go to clinch the NL East, leading by three heading into their weekend series. The series between these two September 28-30 could decide the division title.

Saturday update: Atlanta lost and Philadelphia won, so the Braves division lead is down to one game.

Friday update: Atlanta lost and Philadelphia won, which cut the Braves lead to two games.

NL Central

Weekend series schedule

Brewers vs. Cubs
Cardinals vs. Padres
Reds vs. Dodgers

What it means

Milwaukee’s magic number is 5, so they can clinch this weekend. St. Louis is currently one game up on Cincinnati, with it being two games in the loss column.

Saturday update: Milwaukee and St. Louis won while Cincinnati lost. The Brewers magic number dropped to three.

Friday update: Milwaukee, St. Louis, and Cincinnati all won, so the Brewers magic number dropped by one to four.

NL West

Weekend series schedule

Giants vs. Braves
Dodgers @ Reds

What it means

The Giants are a game up on the Dodgers so this race isn’t ending anytime soon. The Padres are 17.5 back of LA.

Saturday update: Both teams won, so the Giants division lead remains two.

Friday update: San Francisco won and LA lost, which moves the Giants to two games up on the Dodgers.