Cubs, Twins punch October tickets; Red Sox close in on East crown
By Chad Thornburg
Two more postseason spots were claimed on Wednesday as the Cubs clinched the National League Central title and the Twins secured the American League's second Wild Card spot. Chicago claimed its second consecutive division title by defeating the rival Cardinals, 5-1, in St. Louis, and the Angels' loss to the White Sox in Chicago handed the final spot in the AL to Minnesota.
After beating the Blue Jays, 10-7, the Red Sox are in position to clinch the AL East on Thursday, but they'll need some help from the Rays. With a win over the Astros and a Yankees loss to Tampa Bay, Boston would punch its ticket to the AL Division Series presented by Doosan, leaving the Yankees as the home team in the Oct. 3 AL Wild Card Game.
"Another step," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "Tonight is another step toward a main goal, but nothing is taken for granted."
NL Wild Card
The Cubs clinching the Central leaves the NL with one remaining postseason spot and three teams vying for it. The Rockies, who beat the Marlins, 15-9, on Wednesday, are in the driver's seat with a 2 1/2-game lead over Milwaukee for the second Wild Card spot. Both the Brewers and Cardinals lost on Wednesday, putting their elimination numbers at two and one, respectively.
"I know we're not in a very good situation, but it's all about just coming out and maybe some stuff will happen where we have a chance," Cardinals right-hander Michael Wacha said. "We just have to take care of our own business and keep winning."
The Dodgers remained 2 1/2 games ahead of the Indians for the Majors' best record with a 10-0 win over the Padres. Los Angeles is in line for home-field advantage throughout the World Series.
The race for the AL's top seed remains between the 98-60 Astros, who won, 12-2, over the Rangers on Wednesday, and the 99-59 Indians, who beat the Twins, 4-2, at Progressive Field. Only one game separates Houston and Cleveland in the standings for the right to face the winner of the AL Wild Card Game. The Indians hold the tiebreaker after winning the season series, five games to one.
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
2017 POSTSEASON SCHEDULE
AL Wild Card Game (1-game playoff): Oct. 3
NL Wild Card Game (1-game playoff): Oct. 4
AL Division Series presented by Doosan begins (best-of-5, 2-2-1 format): Oct. 5
NL Division Series presented by T-Mobile begins (best-of-5, 2-2-1 format): Oct. 6
AL Championship Series presented by Camping World begins (best-of-7, 2-3-2 format): Oct. 13
NL Championship Series presented by Camping World begins (best-of-7, 2-3-2 format):Oct. 14
World Series presented by YouTube TV 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.