At the start of play today, the six division leaders have magic numbers of:
- 9 – Atlanta, NL East
- 11 – Los Angeles, NL West
- 12 – Boston, AL East
- 16 – Detroit, AL Central
- 19 – Oakland, AL West
- 20 – St. Louis, NL Central
If the wild card playoff games were held today, Cincinnati would be at Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay would be at Texas.
The AL 2nd wild card spot is shaping up to a wild, although somewhat ugly race. The Rays went 21-5 in July and they have been 13-20 since then. If the Rays lose today in Seattle and the Orioles beat the White Sox and Cleveland beats the Mets, there will be a 3-way tie for the 2nd wild card at 77-65. And if the Red Sox beat the Yankees and Kansas City beats Detroit, the Royals and Yankees will have the same record, tied for fourth in the wild card race, just 2 1/2 games out.
A pentagonal race for a playoff spot? Perhaps that is fitting when we are celebrating the 40th anniversary of baseball’s saddest pennant race, the 1973 NL East, won by the Mets with an 82-79 record and had the top five teams in the division still in contention starting the final week. The Mets clinched the division in the first game of a doubleheader at Wrigley Field the day after the regular season was supposed to end before a crowd of 1913. The second game was called off. The Pirates lost their final game to the Padres that day in another makeup.