With a little over two weeks left in the 2018 regular season, playoff races are heating up in both leagues. The Boston Red Sox are still the only team that has clinched a playoff berth this season, but a few other teams could punch their tickets next week. There are still 13 teams left that have a realistic chance of grabbing one of the ten playoff spots before they kick off in October.
American League All but Over
The American League playoff picture looks a little more clear than the National League. The Boston Red Sox hold a 9.5 game lead over the New York Yankees in the American League East and should enter the postseason as the number one overall seed. The Cleveland Indians have their magic number to clinch the American League Central down to one and have a shot to clinch the division on Saturday.
The two best playoff races in the American League are in the AL West and for the top Wild Card spot in the American League. The defending World Series champion Houston Astros have a slight lead over the Oakland Athletics in the AL West. Houston’s lead is down to just 2.5 games in the division entering play on Saturday.
The New York Yankees currently hold the top Wild Card spot in the American League, but they are also trying to hold off the Oakland Athletics. Oakland has closed the gap to 1.5 games with fourteen games remaining. These two teams should meet in the American League Wild Card Game, but the site is yet to be determined.
National League Will be Fun
In the National League is where the real drama will unfold this month. The Atlanta Braves lead the National League East by 7.5 games over the Philadelphia Phillies, but that is the only real race that is settled. The Braves have their elimination number down to nine with two weeks remaining.
The National League West race looks like it will come down to the final weekend. The Colorado Rockies lead the Los Angeles Dodgers by a half-game in the division and are just 3.5 games ahead of the Arizona Diamondbacks. All three of those teams will play games against each other in the final two weeks of the season.
The Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers have turned the National League Central division into a two-team race. The Cubs currently lead the Milwaukee Brewers by 1.5 games entering play on Saturday, and their elimination number is down to 14. The Cubs and Brewers do not play each other again this season, and the Cubs have the more favorable schedule.
The National League Wild Card race is shaping up to be one of the best in recent memory. The Milwaukee Brewers hold a three-game lead over both the St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers for the top Wild Card spot in the National League. The Dodgers have caught the Cardinals for the second spot, and these teams have two more games against each other in St. Louis this weekend. The Arizona Diamondbacks are just three games behind these teams for the final playoff spot.