With less than two weeks remaining in the regular season, 12 teams entered Wednesday’s games within five games of the 10 playoff spots. The Boston Red Sox once again failed to clinch the A.L. West and the St. Louis Cardinals saw their three-game winning streak end while the baseball world waited to see how things played out in Los Angeles between the Dodgers and the Colorado Rockies.
Here is where the various competitive playoff races stand on Wednesday:
National League Central
The Chicago Cubs came into the day leading the Milwaukee Brewers by three and a half games.
Jesus Aguilar did most of the damage with a three-run homer in the third inning as the Brewers dispatched the Cincinnati Reds, 7-0. Milwaukee got a terrific start from Gio Gonzalez, who allowed two hits in six shutout innings and the Brewers drew to three games back in the division pending Chicago’s result against Arizona.
National League Wild-Card
The Brewers came into the day with a two-game lead over the St. Louis Cardinals for the top wild-card position, while the Cardinals had a one-and-a-half-game lead over the Rockies for the second spot.
The best news for the Cardinals on a day when their three-game winning streak was halted by a 7-3 loss to the Atlanta Braves was that Harrison Bader, the team’s energetic center fielder, escaped injury when he took a pitch to the back of his helmet. Bader later homered, but that wasn’t nearly enough to offset a big day on offense from Freddie Freeman.
The Cardinals’ loss combined with Milwaukee’s win put the Brewers three games ahead for the top wild-card position, while St. Louis’ lead over Colorado for the second position was down to one game pending the result of the Rockies’ game against Los Angeles.
National League West
The Dodgers came into the day leading the Rockies by one and a half games.
American League West
The Houston Astros came into the day leading the Oakland Athletics by five games.
Dallas Keuchel did not have his best stuff on Wednesday, allowing five runs in the Astros’ 9-0 loss to the Seattle Mariners. The former Cy Young Award winner lasted just five innings, and got absolutely no help from his offense, which produced five hits, all singles. The loss shrunk Houston’s division lead to four and a half games pending Oakland’s game against the Angels.
One of Seattle’s runs came courtesy of a terrific heads-up baserunning play by Mitch Haniger following Robinson Cano’s double in the fourth inning. Haniger appeared to be gunned down at home, but the tag just missed him. Haniger proceeded to slide all the way around Houston catcher Martin Maldonado before reaching out to grab home plate for the Astros’ fourth run of the day.
American League Wild-Card
The Yankees came into the day leading the Athletics by a two and a half games for the top wild-card, with no other teams within five games of contention for either spot.
Alex Cora may be trying to come up with plans of how his Red Sox can best manipulate the Yankees in the closing weeks of the season, but in Wednesday’s game he wasn’t pushing the right buttons as the Yankees cruised to a 10-1 victory. Miguel Andujar and Luke Voit both homered for the Yankees — Voit is the 12th Yankee to reach double-figures in homers this season, a major-league record — and Luis Severino was fairly dominant, allowing six hits and one run in seven innings of work. The Yankees even gave an inning of work to their latest call-up, Justus Sheffield, who loaded the bases in the ninth but got out of the jam with a game-ending double-play.