As Dodgers take title, Halos hop into WC fray

As Dodgers take title, Halos hop into WC fray

In less than a week, the postseason opens on Tuesday with the American League Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser. But there's still plenty of regular-season action between now and then that will determine how the playoff field shakes out.

Here's a look at how Tuesday's slate of games impacted the postseason picture:

Dodgers wrap up West
The Dodgers took home a third consecutive National League West title on Tuesday, eliminating the defending champion Giants with an 8-0 win in San Francisco. L.A. is now set to face the Mets in the NL Division Series beginning Friday, Oct. 9, on TBS.

Next up for the Dodgers is the matter of home-field advantage. New York leads the Dodgers by a game and also holds the tiebreaker with a 4-3 win in the season series.

Mattingly on NL West title

Clayton Kershaw earned Tuesday's win, tossing a one-hit shutout opposite San Francisco ace Madison Bumgarner. Tuesday marked the fourth matchup between these pitchers this year, yet just the first in which the Dodgers and Kershaw have come away with the win.

"They won three World Series in the past five years. We might have clinched the division, but they still are in a better spot than we are," Kershaw said. "That's what we're trying to get to."

Castrovince: Unfinished business awaits LA

This is the first time in Dodgers history that the team has made the postseason in three consecutive seasons. For days, the division title eluded them as they lost eight of their previous 10 contests, including four straight. Tuesday's win also snapped a seven-game losing skid at AT&T Park.

Kershaw's gem clinches NL West

Postseason picture

Angels vault past Astros in AL Wild Card
For the first time since Aug. 21, the Angels are back in possession of a playoff spot. Los Angeles beat the A's, 8-1, on Tuesday while the Astros lost, 6-4, to the Mariners, moving the Angels a half-game ahead of Houston for the second American League Wild Card.

Tropeano fans career-high 11

The Angels have matched their season-high winning streak of seven games (July 12-22) and are now just two games back of the Rangers in the AL West in advance of this weekend's four-game series in Arlington. At 18-8, the Angels have the best record in the Majors this month. The Astros, by comparison, are just 10-16 in September as they've fallen out of first place and now also out of the Wild Card.

Watch the playoff race on MLB.TV

"If we go out there and win games, we make it tougher on other guys -- and that's what we're gonna try to do the next five games," Albert Pujols said. "One game at a time, one pitch at a time, make one play at a time, and take advantage of the mistakes. Hopefully we can continue to do that. We're playing great baseball, our fans are supporting us -- but you can't think ahead of yourself."

Blue Jays, Cardinals nearing division titles
The Blue Jays and Cardinals can join the Dodgers, Royals and Mets as division champions as soon as Wednesday. St. Louis can clinch the NL Central with one win over the Pirates in its split doubleheader, while the Jays can do the same in the AL East with a win in a doubleheader against the Orioles or a Yankees loss.

If either the Jays or Cardinals clinch their division, they'd also lock down home-field advantage in their respective Division Series matchups. The Cardinals would be assured of playing either Pittsburgh or Chicago, whichever club wins the NL Wild Card Game, to be played on Oct. 7.

Home-field advantage throughout the postseason is still up for grabs in the AL, which won the All-Star Game to assure World Series Games 1, 2, 6 and 7 would be played in an AL ballpark. For the moment, it's a two-team race between the Blue Jays and Royals, with Toronto up 1 1/2 games on Kansas City. The Blue Jays also hold a tiebreaker over the Royals.

The Royals, who lost, 4-2, to the White Sox on Tuesday, can also secure home-field advantage in the ALDS on Wednesday if they beat Chicago or the Tigers beat the Rangers.

Other things to know
• Mother Nature kept several contenders off the field Tuesday, postponing three games with heavy playoff implications -- St. Louis at Pittsburgh, Toronto at Baltimore and Minnesota at Cleveland. They'll all be made up Wednesday as part of three doubleheaders.

• The Cubs beat the Reds, 4-1, on Tuesday to pull within three games of the Pirates for the NL's top Wild Card spot.

• The Mets had their franchise-record 11-game road winning streak snapped Tuesday in a 4-3 loss to the Phillies.

If the postseason began today ...

Wild Card: Angels 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

AL Wild Card Game: Tuesday
NL Wild Card Game: Oct. 7
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

Chad Thornburg is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.