Five of the six division leaders have clinched and the other could do so tonight, but that doesn't mean the pennant races are over. More drama on Monday night has added intrigue to the chases for the available Wild Card slots and home-field advantage in each league.Here's where we stand
Five of the six division leaders have clinched and the other could do so tonight, but that doesn't mean the pennant races are over. More drama on Monday night has added intrigue to the chases for the available Wild Card slots and home-field advantage in each league.
Here's where we stand heading into today:
American League Wild Card
Things have tightened up. Toronto still owns the top spot, but a loss to the Yankees on Monday cut their lead over the idle Orioles, who have the second slot, to a single game.
And more drama took place in the Lone Star State when the Mariners blew a two-run lead in the ninth inning against the Astros in Minute Maid Park and then still managed to win it in the 11th. Coupled with Detroit's loss to Cleveland, it means Seattle and the Tigers are tied in the standings with 83-73 records. Both clubs are two games behind Baltimore with six to play, which means the Astros, who are 3 1/2 back, really need a win over Félix Hernández and the Mariners today.
National League Wild Card
The Mets, who sit in the top spot in the NL Wild Card standings, found themselves in a whirlwind of emotion when they landed in Miami for the opener of a series against the Marlins, who are grieving for their late teammate, star pitcher José Fernández.
On Monday, the Marlins all wore Fernandez's No. 16 and followed leadoff hitter Dee Gordon's lead, taking it to New York in a 7-3 win. The Mets now have a half-game lead for the top slot over the Giants, who were idle, and San Francisco leads its closest pursuer, the Cardinals, by a game after St. Louis was routed, 15-2, by Cincinnati on Monday.
"That wasn't good. That's not what we were looking for," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "You never want to be embarrassed, and that's an embarrassing loss."
American League home-field advantage
The Texas Rangers lost to Milwaukee on Monday, so entering today, the idle Boston Red Sox, at 92-64, had the best record in the AL by mere percentage points over Texas (92-65) and the Indians (91-65), who beat the Tigers on Monday.
That means if the season ended today, Boston, which has won 11 consecutive games and gets back after it Tuesday vs. the Yankees in the Bronx, would earn home-field advantage in its Division Series against the Wild Card Game winner while the Rangers would host the Indians in Game 1 of the other Division Series.
National League home-field advantage
The Cubs locked down their 100th victory Monday and seem to be rolling into October with the best record in all of baseball. They are cruising with the top spot in the NL playoffs and will host the Wild Card Game winner. The other Division Series home-field advantage is a toss-up between the Nationals and Dodgers, who are separated by a game in the standings.
Washington lost to Arizona to fall to 91-65 for the season, so it still holds a one-game advantage over Los Angeles (90-66), which was idle on Monday but begins a series against the Padres in San Diego on Tuesday.
If the postseason began today ...
Wild Card: Orioles at Blue Jays
Division Series: Wild Card at Red Sox, Indians at Rangers
Wild Card: Giants at Mets
Division Series: Wild Card at Cubs, Dodgers at Nationals
2015 POSTSEASON SCHEDULE
AL Wild Card Game: Oct. 4
NL Wild Card Game: Oct. 5
AL Division Series begins: Oct. 6
NL Division Series begins: Oct. 7
AL Championship Series begins: Oct. 14
NL Championship Series begins: Oct. 15
World Series begins: Oct. 25
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB.