MLB Playoff Picture: Magic Numbers, Eliminated Teams, and Teams Still Alive

By Michael Vesci
Sep. 20, 2018

With just 10 days left in the Major League Baseball regular season, division races and wild card spots are coming down to the wire. We are starting to get a clearer look at the field of teams who will be vying for the 2018 World Series next month. So let us jump right in and take a look at the teams already eliminated for playoff contention within their division...

Teams Eliminated From Division Contention:

AL East: Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles

AL Central: Minnesota Twins, Detroit Tigers, Chicago White Sox, Kansas City Royals

AL West: Seattle Mariners, Los Angeles Angels, Texas Rangers

NL East: New York Mets, Miami Marlins

NL Central: Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds

NL West: San Francisco Giants, San Diego Padres

Now let us take a look at the teams eliminated from wild card contention in both the American League and the National League...

Teams Eliminated From Wild Card Contention:

American League Wild Card:

Los Angeles Angels, Minnesota Twins, Toronto Blue Jays, Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers, Chicago White Sox, Kansas City Royals, Baltimore Orioles

National League Wild Card:

San Francisco Giants, New York Mets, Cincinnati Reds, San Diego Padres, Miami Marlins

If you do the math, this leaves 13 teams across the six divisions battling it out for their respective division titles. So let us take a look at each team still alive in each of the division races, in italics will be the team currently leading that division...

Teams Still Alive For Division Contention:

AL East: Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees

AL Central: Cleveland Indians (Clinched)

AL West: Houston Astros, Oakland Athletics

NL East: Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, Washington Nationals

NL Central: Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Brewers, St. Louis Cardinals

NL West: Los Angeles Dodgers, Colorado Rockies, Arizona Diamondbacks

The only thing left to analyze now is the teams still alive in the wild card races for each league as 11 total teams across both the American and National League are fighting to hold onto their wild card spot or get into one in the next few days. Here are those remaining teams, the ones who currently hold a wild card spot are in italics...

Teams Still Alive In Wild Card Contention:

American League Wild Card:

New York Yankees, Oakland Athletics, Tampa Bay Rays, Seattle Mariners

National League Wild Card:

Milwaukee Brewers, St. Louis Cardinals, Colorado Rockies, Philadelphia Phillies, Arizona Diamondbacks, Pittsburgh Pirates, Washington Nationals

You have an idea of what teams are left in the playoff hunt, let us take a look at the magic number for each division leader to clinch their respective titles and how many games they have remaining this season...

Division Leaders and Magic Numbers

AL East: Boston Red Sox (9 Games Ahead of New York Yankees)

Magic Number: 2

Games Remaining: 10

Note: Can clinch with win against NYY on Thursday

AL Central: Cleveland Indians (Clinched)

AL West: Houston Astros (4 Games Ahead of Oakland Athletics)

Magic Number: 7

Games Remaining: 10

NL East: Atlanta Braves (5.5 Games Ahead of Philadelphia Phillies)

Magic Number: 6

Games Remaining: 10

NL Central: Chicago Cubs (2.5 Games Ahead of Milwaukee Brewers)

Magic Number: 8

Games Remaining: 10

NL West: Los Angeles Dodgers (2.5 Games Ahead of Colorado Rockies)

Magic Number: 8

Games Remaining: 9

Now let us take a look at the magic number for the four teams currently holding wild card spots across the American League and National League as we enter the final 10 days of the season...

American League Wild Card:

New York Yankees (Top AL Wild Card Spot-2.5 Games Ahead of Oakland)

Magic Number (For Wild Card Spot): 4

(For Home-Field Advantage): 9

Games Remaining: 11

Oakland Athletics (Second AL Wild Card Spot-5.5 Games Ahead of Tampa Bay)

Magic Number (For Wild Card Spot): 6

Games Remaining: 10

National League Wild Card:

Milwaukee Brewers (Top NL Wild Card Spot-3.0 Games Ahead of St. Louis)

Magic Number (For Wild Card Spot): 6

(For Home-Field Advantage): 7

Games Remaining: 9

St. Louis Cardinals (Second NL Wild Card Spot-1.5 Games Ahead of Colorado)

Magic Number (For Wild Card Spot): 9

Games Remaining: 9

Moving on, we look at the elimination number for all the teams still in the American League and National League division hunt. Bear with me as I break down each of the remaining playoff hopeful teams not currently owning a playoff spot. We will look at their elimination number for the division...

American League Division Race: Elimination Numbers

AL East:

New York Yankees (9.5 Games Behind Boston)

Elimination Number: 2

Games Remaining: 11

AL West:

Oakland Athletics (4.0 Games Behind Houston)

Elimination Number: 7

Games Remaining: 10

National League Division Race: Elimination Numbers

NL East:

Philadelphia Phillies (5.5 Games Behind Atlanta)

Elimination Number: 6

Games Remaining: 11

Washington Nationals (7 Games Behind Atlanta)

Elimination Number: 4

Games Remaining: 10

NL Central:

Milwaukee Brewers (2.5 Games Behind Chicago (N))

Elimination Number: 8

Games Remaining: 9

St. Louis Cardinals (5.5 Games Behind Chicago (N))

Elimination Number: 5

Games Remaining: 9

NL West:

Colorado Rockies (2.5 Games Behind Los Angeles (N))

Elimination Number: 8

Games Remaining: 10

Arizona Diamondbacks (6 Games Behind Los Angeles (N))

Elimination Number: 4

Games Remaining: 9

Last but certainly not least, we look at the elimination numbers for every wild card hopeful and how many games they have left on their schedule for the season...

American League Wild Card Race: Elimination Numbers

Tampa Bay Rays (5.5 Games Behind Oakland)

Elimination Number: 6

Games Remaining: 11

Seattle Mariners (7 Games Behind Oakland)

Elimination Number: 4

Games Remaining: 10

National League Wild Card Race: Elimination Numbers

Colorado Rockies (1.5 Games Behind Milwaukee)

Elimination Number: 9

Games Remaining: 10

Philadelphia Phillies (5 Games Behind Milwaukee)

Elimination Number: 6

Games Remaining: 11

Arizona Diamondbacks (5 Games Behind Milwaukee)

Elimination Number: 5

Games Remaining: 9

Pittsburgh Pirates (6 Games Behind Milwaukee)

Elimination Number: 5

Games Remaining: 11

Washington Nationals (6.5 Games Behind Milwaukee)

Elimination Number: 4

Games Remaining: 10

Phew...did you catch all that? It may take a couple of reads to fully understand where we are at with the Major League Baseball season. However, one thing is for certain, we are in for a wild ride this last 10 days of the season, so let us enjoy it.

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