Road to the Postseason: Sept. 9

Tribe chasing Astros for best AL record; Wild Card teams consolidate grasps on spots

Road to the Postseason: Sept. 9

With the red-hot Indians pushing their franchise-record win streak to 16 games by beating the Orioles on Friday night, the race for the best record in the American League -- and home-field advantage throughout the AL postseason -- has gotten even tighter with less than a month remaining in the regular season.

The Tribe (85-56) now trails the Astros (86-54) by just 1 1/2 games for the AL's best record, and that race is just one of several intriguing playoff chases around baseball.

Here's where we stand heading into today's action:

American League Wild Card
The Twins picked up ground on the Yankees for the top AL Wild Card spot, while also gaining a bit of breathing room over the Angels in the race for the second Wild Card position. Minnesota beat Kansas City on Friday night to close within 1 1/2 games of New York. Los Angeles lost to Seattle, so the Twins now lead the Angels by two games and the Rangers, who beat the Yankees, by 2 1/2 games for the second AL Wild Card spot

With the Orioles losing to the Indians and the Mariners' victory, Baltimore finds itself three games back, and Seattle four back of the Twins.

National League Wild Card
With the D-backs seeing their 13-game winning streak snapped by the Padres at Chase Field on Friday night, and the Rockies erasing a 4-1 deficit in Los Angeles to beat the Dodgers, 5-4, Arizona is six games ahead of Colorado for the top NL Wild Card spot.

The Rockies maintained their three-game cushion over the Brewers and Cardinals for the second Wild Card spot, as Milwaukee beat the Cubs at Wrigley Field on a two-run homer by Ryan Braun and the Cardinals won their seventh game in their last 10 with a victory over the Pirates.

Nationals' magic number shrinks with victory
The Nationals beat the Phillies at Nationals Park, 11-10, on Friday night, reducing Washington's magic number for clinching the National League East to three games (any combination of Nationals wins and Marlins losses that adds up to three will result in Washington capturing its second consecutive division crown).

The Nats can clinch as early as Sunday with a combination of two victories and one Marlins loss, or one victory and two Marlins losses.

Home-field advantage
With their loss to the Rockies on Friday, the Dodgers' losing streak stretched to eight games. But Los Angeles still owns the best record in baseball, at 92-49. With their win over the Phillies, the Nationals are five games back of the Dodgers, with a record of 87-54.

The Astros, who blew a 7-3 lead and ended up losing to the A's in Oakland, 9-8, have the Indians right on their tail with Cleveland's ever-growing win streak.

If the postseason began today …

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Wild Card:
Twins at Yankees
Division Series: Wild Card at Astros, Red Sox at Indians

NATIONAL LEAGUE
Wild Card:
Rockies at D-backs
Division Series: Wild Card at Dodgers, Cubs at Nationals

2017 POSTSEASON SCHEDULE
AL Wild Card Game (1-game playoff):
Oct. 3
NL Wild Card Game (1-game playoff): Oct. 4
AL Division Series begins (best-of-5, 2-2-1 format): Oct. 5
NL Division Series begins (best-of-5, 2-2-1 format): Oct. 6
AL Championship Series begins (best-of-7, 2-3-2 format): Oct. 13
NL Championship Series begins (best-of-7, 2-3-2 format): Oct. 14
World Series begins (best-of-7, 2-3-2 format): Oct. 24

Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.