Philadelphia Phillies v Milwaukee Brewers

The State of the Races

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AL EAST

The spread: Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but both the Yankees and Red Sox lose. New York stays ahead of Boston by two and a half.

The skinny: It’s gonna be funny when the prognosticators look at the stumbling finish each of these teams seems to be embarking upon and uses it to predict playoff doom for them. When, in fact, there is little if any correlation between how a team finishes and how it does in the playoffs. Remember the 2000 Yankees?

AL CENTRAL

The spread: The Tigers were idle and Chicago beat Cleveland. It’s an eight and a half game lead over Chicago, ten over Cleveland.

The skinny: The party’s over.

AL WEST

The spread: Both Texas and Anaheim had the night off. Texas’ lead is two and a half.

The skinny: The Rangers open a series against the A’s. Anaheim hosts the Yankees.

NL EAST

The spread: The Phillies win one and the Braves win two. A ten game lead for Philly, a seven and a half game lead for the Braves in the wild card.

The skinny: The Braves play a series against the Cardinals this weekend. If the Cards sweep I presume there’s a race for the wild card. Anything less and I’m having a hard time seeing it.

NL CENTRAL

The spread: The Brewers lose to Philly, Cards idle. Milwaukee has an eight game lead.

The skinny: I’m informed by Brewers fans that, because they have a lead in the division, Albert Pujols sucks and Nyjer Morgan is just some precocious scamp. At least that’s what I think they’re telling me. Success has a strange effect on a certain brand of fan.

NL WEST

The spread: Diamondbacks win, Giants idle, and the snakes have a seven and a half game lead.

The skinny: The Dodgers are four back of the Giants in the loss column. How sad would it be if San Francisco finishes in third place?

Settling the Scores: Saturday’s results

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 24:  Denard Span #2 of the San Francisco Giants, right, is congratulated by Roberto Kelly #39 after hitting a two-run home run during the tenth inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on September 24, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
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Amid the clash and clatter of division races, wild card nail-biters, and postseason finishes, the Giants and Padres played a baseball game.

It wasn’t a particularly brilliant game — Madison Bumgarner surrendered five runs and a season-high three homers over six frames, while the bullpen blew a one-run lead in the seventh — but it served its purpose in the end. Denard Span’s 10th inning home run cemented the Giants’ 82nd win of the season, scooting them half a game up in the wild card standings and keeping the Dodgers from clinching the division.

Granted, the Dodgers only need one more win (or, alternatively, a Giants’ loss) to lay claim to the division title, and it’s almost certain that they’ll take the NL West on Sunday. A division title may be out of reach for the Giants, but they’ll still face fierce competition from the Mets and Cardinals for a wild card spot heading into the last week of the season.

Here are the rest of the box scores from Saturday’s games. Keep an eye out for Dustin Pedroia‘s grand slam, Josh Reddick‘s grand slam, and Hunter Renfroe’s first career home run.

Royals 7, Tigers 4

Cardinals 10, Cubs 4

Rangers 5, Athletics 0

Blue Jays 3, Yankees 0

Red Sox 6, Rays 4

Orioles 6, Diamondbacks 1

Nationals 6, Pirates 1

Marlins 6, Braves 4

White Sox 8, Indians 1

Reds 6, Brewers 1

Angels 10, Astros 4

Phillies 10, Mets 8

Twins 3, Mariners 2

Giants 9, Padres 6 (10 innings)

Dodgers 14, Rockies 1

Dodgers move within a game of division win

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 24:  Josh Reddick #11 of the Los Angeles Dodgers (R) celebrates with Yasmani Grandal #9, Adrian Gonzalez #23, and Justin Turner #10 after all score on Reddick's grand slam home run in the seventh inning against the Colorado Rockies at Dodger Stadium on September 24, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.   The Dodgets won 14-1.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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Yesterday, the Nationals staked their claim in the NL East and the Red Sox secured a postseason berth. Today, the Dodgers stand on the cusp of their fourth consecutive division title, with only Tyler Anderson and Ty Blach in their way.

Any combination of a Dodgers win and Giants loss will secure the NL West for Los Angeles, who missed their opportunity to clinch last night despite a 14-1 drubbing at Dodger Stadium. In the end, it came down to the Giants, who pulled off an extra-inning victory against the Padres and delayed the Dodgers’ playoff revelry for another day.

In lieu of starter Rich Hill, whom manager Dave Roberts intends to reserve for next weekend’s set against the Giants, the Dodgers will go to right-hander Brandon McCarthy on the mound. It’s been a rough year for McCarthy, who has not made a regular season start for the club since August 13, when he left the game with stiffness in his right hip after 1  innings. According to Baseball Injury Consultants, the 33-year-old missed 179 days on the disabled list in 2016, due in large part to a prolonged recovery from the Tommy John surgery he underwent in 2015.

Thankfully for the Dodgers, their fallback is a good, old-fashioned offense. They’ve outscored their opponents 46-23 in the last week and are currently riding a five-game winning streak after taking back-to-back series against the Giants and Rockies. Should they win on Sunday, they’ll face off against the Nationals in Game 1 of the NLDS on October 7.