Yankees now 5 up on Twins in WC race; Dodgers' magic number at 3
By Chad Thornburg
Just under two weeks remains in the 2017 regular season, meaning opportunities for contending teams to claim a postseason spot are dwindling. Even with a light seven-game slate, Monday's action saw a number of contests impact the playoff picture.
Here's a look at where everything stands heading into today:
American League Wild Card
In what could be a preview of the AL Wild Card Game, the Yankees defeated the Twins, 2-1, in the Bronx on Monday night. Aaron Judge belted his AL-leading 44th home run and Jaime Garcia tossed 5 2/3 strong innings against Minnesota, the club that dealt him to New York at the non-waiver Trade Deadline.
"There's a good chance we could play them in that one-game playoff, so it's always good to pick up a win against a team like that," Yankees reliever David Robertson said.
With the win, New York stretched its lead on the Twins for the top Wild Card spot to five games. The Twins' loss dropped them to just 1 1/2 games ahead of the idle Angels for the second spot.
The Orioles, the only other AL Wild Card contender in action Monday, fell to 5 1/2 games back of the Twins with their loss to the Red Sox..
The Red Sox preserved their AL East lead by outlasting the Orioles in extra innings at Camden Yards. Boston overcame an early 6-1 deficit to win, 10-8, on Andrew Benintendi's go-ahead two-RBI single in the 11th frame. With the Yankees' win over Minnesota, the Red Sox's lead in the division remained at three games. Boston's magic number to clinch a postseason berth is four, and to win the East it's 11.
National League West
The Dodgers lost Monday as the Phillies' Aaron Altherr became the first player ever to hit a grand slam against Clayton Kershaw in Philadelphia's 4-3 victory at Citizens Bank Park. The Dodgers' magic number to clinch the NL West dropped to three over the D-backs after Arizona's 4-2 loss in San Diego. L.A.'s magic number for home-field advantage throughout the NL playoffs is eight over the Nationals, who were off Monday.
If the postseason began today ...
AMERICAN LEAGUE Wild Card: Twins at Yankees Division Series: Wild Card at Indians, Red Sox at Astros
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
Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.