Road to the Postseason: Sept. 25

D-backs to host NL Wild Card; Nats clinch home-field in DS

Road to the Postseason: Sept. 25

More pieces to the postseason puzzle fell into place on an eventful Sunday in the Major Leagues, but the top headline belonged to the D-backs, who clinched the National League Wild Card berth that seemed a foregone conclusion for much of this month in their breakout season.

On Sunday, the D-backs actually clinched the Wild Card spot during their game against the Marlins because the Cardinals had lost to the Pirates and the Brewers had lost to the Cubs. But they made the day dramatic anyway, with J.D. Martinez's walk-off single with two outs in the ninth inning powering Arizona to a 3-2 win over the Marlins. The D-backs have made the postseason for the first time since 2011, and they are fired up about it, especially given that they'll host the game at Chase Field on Oct. 4.

"We're full throttle," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. "We're well aware of what's going on in front of us. It's in our hands right now, we've earned that. We need to embrace that, go out and make it happen."

In other important action on Sunday, the Nationals beat the Mets, 3-2, and earned home-field advantage in their upcoming NL Division Series while possibly expecting star outfielder Bryce Harper back from injury today.

As we get ready to enter the final week of the regular season, here's where things stand entering play today:

National League Wild Card

The Rockies beat the Padres on Sunday, and the Brewers and Cardinals both lost, which means the Rockies have pulled ahead of Milwaukee by two games and St. Louis by 2 1/2 for the second Wild Card berth in the NL.

Beginning today, these three teams will have the following schedules as they try to win the rest of their games and get that coveted spot:

• Rockies: three vs. the Marlins, three vs. the Dodgers

• Brewers: three vs. the Reds, three at the Cardinals

• Cardinals: four vs. the Cubs, three vs. the Brewers

American League Wild Card

The Yankees already clinched their spot on Saturday, and on Sunday, the Twins inched closer to being team No. 2 in the AL Wild Card Game by beating the Tigers for a crucial four-game sweep that has Minnesota a comfortable 4 1/2 games ahead of its closest pursuer, the Angels, and with a magic number of three.

The Twins were swept by their possible Wild Card Game opponent, the Yankees, earlier in the week, so they were particularly encouraged by their rebound.

"We talked about it in our postgame thing we do about how we responded, which isn't a new thing," Twins second baseman Brian Dozier said. "We came in here and accomplished our goal of winning all four games and going to Cleveland. We know where we're at. Trust me. We have a gauge of what's going on around us."

Home-field advantage

The Indians beat the Mariners on Sunday and stand with a record of 98-58, while the Astros (95-60) lost to the Angels, which means Cleveland holds a 2 1/2-game lead over Houston for home-field advantage throughout the AL postseason.

In the NL, the Dodgers (99-57) beat the Giants and kept their 4 1/2-game lead over the Nationals (94-61) in the race for home-field advantage in the playoffs.

If the postseason began today …


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


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


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

Doug Miller is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.