Road to the Postseason: Sept. 29

Red Sox on verge of clinching AL East; Cards eliminated

Road to the Postseason: Sept. 29

The Red Sox couldn't capitalize on the Yankees' loss Thursday, losing to the Astros at Fenway Park, meaning they'll have to wait until at least today to wrap up the American League East, baseball's last unclaimed division.

Here's a look at how the rest of Thursday's action impacted the postseason picture:

AL East
Even with the Red Sox's 12-2 loss to the Astros, a potential AL Division Series opponent, they still inched closer to the division title. Boston's magic number to win a second consecutive division crown fell to one when the Yankees lost their series finale vs. the Rays in New York, 9-6.

National League Wild Card
The Cardinals were eliminated from postseason contention with a 2-1 extra-innings loss to the Cubs. Chicago outfielder Leonys Martin robbed the Cardinals of a game-tying home run for the final out, ending St. Louis' Wild Card hopes.

The race for the NL's second Wild Card spot is now down to just the Rockies and Brewers. The idle Rockies hold a two-game edge on the Brewers, who beat the Reds, 4-3, with three games remaining in the regular season. Any combination of Colorado wins and Milwaukee losses equaling two will clinch the last playoff spot for Colorado.

The Rockies end the year with a weekend home series against MLB's top team, the Dodgers, while the Brewers visit the Cardinals for three games. Should they finish with the same record, the Rockies would host the Brewers in a one-game tiebreaker on Monday.

"This team is relentless. We keep fighting," Milwaukee outfielder Brett Phillips said. "That's what we've shown these last couple of weeks, chasing the Rockies and the Cubs. These are must-win games. Going to St. Louis for three, we owe it to each other to play hard, and that's what we're going to do."

Home-field advantage
The Indians reached 100 wins for the third time in franchise history, beating the Wild Card-bound Twins, 5-2, at Progressive Field. The Indians remain one game ahead of the Astros for home-field advantage throughout the AL playoffs. Cleveland owns the tiebreaker after winning the season series.

"We need to keep winning because Houston is," Indians manager Terry Francona said.

Home field in the World Series is still in play for both the Cleveland and Houston, but they'll need some help from the Rockies. The Dodgers need to lose their three remaining games for either team to catch them for the best record in baseball.

Los Angeles owns the tiebreaker over the Indians but not the Astros, meaning the Tribe (100-59) needs to finish ahead of the Dodgers (102-57) in the standings for home field in a potential World Series matchup. The Astros (99-60) only need to tie Los Angeles.

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): Tuesday
NL Wild Card Game (1-game playoff): Wednesday
AL Division Series begins (best-of-5, 2-2-1 format): Thursday
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 This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.