Envy nesters: Jays, Cardinals clinch crowns
AL West, Wild Card races packed with intrigue
Five of six divisions have been settled, but the postseason makeup is far from complete. A winner still needs to be determined in the American League West. Two teams clinched their divisions Wednesday night and a couple others inched closer to their own celebrations.
Here's a look at how Wednesday's games impacted the Postseason Picture:
Toronto, St. Louis clinch divisions
The Blue Jays are champions of the AL East for the first time since 1993. Toronto and Baltimore played a doubleheader Wednesday, but it only took the Blue Jays one game to win the division as they slugged their way to a 15-2 win in Game 1.
"It still feels like a dream, to be honest with you," the Jays' Marcus Stroman said. "How everything played out from the beginning of this season and being in this position to help my team clinch, it's been a journey. It's been a special ride."
The Blue Jays have had a potent offense all season long and in the clinching game, it showed up once again. The team had 18 hits and the Nos. 2-3-4 hitters -- Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion -- went 5-for-12 with a home run and five RBIs.
While Toronto had already clinched a playoff berth, the division title gave the team home-field advantage for the American League Division Series.
St. Louis, like Toronto, was already guaranteed of a postseason spot, but needed a win to secure the National League Central crown.
The Cardinals dropped the first game of a doubleheader with the Pirates, but wasted no time bouncing back in the nightcap.
St. Louis scored two runs in the first and then Jason Heyward blew the game open with a grand slam in the third as the Cardinals won, 11-1, giving the club its third consecutive division title and its 100th win of the season.
"This is real special, just because of the adversity that was thrown at us," the Cards' Matt Carpenter said. "We talked about what's happened in the calendar year. You have a teammate pass away in Oscar [Taveras]. You just have player after player hit the DL. You lose your ace. You lose your three-hole hitter for a lot of the season. It just seems like one thing after another kept happening, but this team never quit, and they went on to win as many games as I have since I've been here. It's just amazing."
The win also guaranteed the Cardinals home-field advantage throughout the NL playoffs.
Rangers maintain lead; Astros keep pace
The AL West is the only division still up for grabs and the Rangers took another step toward claiming it as their own on Wednesday.
The Rangers beat the Tigers, 6-2, and picked up a game on the Angels, who lost to the A's, but were unable to pick up a game on the Astros, as Houston won a back-and-forth contest against the Mariners, 7-6.
With the win, the Rangers reduced their magic number to two with four critical games against the Angels remaining on the schedule.
"Right now we've got one goal, and that's to go out there tomorrow and take that one and finish our business," the Rangers' Mitch Moreland said. "We have one more series to go, and we need to come out ready to go. We can't really control what anybody else is doing. We're playing great baseball right now. What we do is in our hands, so we'll go out tomorrow and take care of our business."
As for the Astros, the win vaulted the club back over the Angels. Houston now has a half-game lead over the Angels for the second Wild Card spot.
Not to be forgotten are the Minnesota Twins, who split a doubleheader with the Indians on Wednesday and are 1 1/2 games out of the second Wild Card spot.
Cubs keeping the pressure on
The Pirates and Cubs will play each other in the NL Wild Card Game, but the location of that game is still to be determined. The Pirates split a doubleheader with the Cardinals on Wednesday, while the Cubs topped the Reds, 10-3.
The Cubs have won four in a row and are 2 1/2 games back of the Pirates for home-field advantage in next Wednesday's Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser.
Other things to know
• The Mets and Dodgers are going to play each other in the NLDS, but home-field advantage in that series is still up for grabs. Both the Mets and Dodgers lost Wednesday, so the Mets remain a game ahead of the Dodgers.
• The Yankees will have to keep the champagne on ice for another day after losing, 9-5, to the Red Sox. Toronto has clinched the AL East, but New York is one win away from securing a spot in the AL Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser.
• The Royals beat the White Sox, 5-3, and now have home-field advantage for the ALDS, but are still trailing the Blue Jays by one game for home-field throughout the AL playoffs.
If the postseason began today ...
Wild Card: Astros at Yankees
Division Series: Wild Card at Blue Jays, Rangers at Royals
Wild Card: Cubs at Pirates
Division Series: Wild Card at Cardinals, Dodgers at Mets
2015 POSTSEASON SCHEDULE
AL Wild Card Game: Tuesday
NL Wild Card Game: Wednesday
AL Division Series begins: Oct. 8
NL Division Series begins: Oct. 9
NL Championship Series begins: Oct. 16
AL Championship Series begins: Oct. 17
World Series begins: Oct. 27