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Previewing Wednesday’s meaningful baseball

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Four of the six divisions are spoken for already, but the AL East and NL Central are still technically up for grabs and there’s still some Wild Card business to be taken care of in both leagues. Here’s a preview of meaningful baseball being played on Wednesday.

AL East (91-66 Red Sox lead 88-69 Yankees by three games)

The Red Sox will clinch with any combination of three wins and Yankee losses.

NL Central (88-69 Cubs lead 83-74 Brewers by five games)

The Cubs will clinch with a win or a Brewers loss.

AL Wild Card (83-74 Twins lead 78-79 Angels by five games)

The Twins clinch the second AL Wild Card with a win or an Angels loss. The Yankees have the first Wild Card (home field advantage) assuming they don’t win the AL East.

NL Wild Card (85-73 Rockies lead 83-74 Brewers by 1.5 games and 82-75 Cardinals by 2.5 games)

The Rockies will clinch the second NL Wild Card with any combination of four wins and Brewer losses, as well as three Cardinal losses. The Diamondbacks have already clinched the first Wild Card.

Manny Machado, batting second, playing shortstop in his Dodgers debut

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The biggest news of the All-Star break — even bigger than the All-Star Game itself — was the trade of Manny Machado to the Dodgers. We talked about it for days, but now the talking is done: Machado is playing shortstop and is batting second in his Dodgers debut this evening against the Brewers in Milwaukee.

Machado is expected to play a little third base for the Dodgers, too, but with Justin Turner still out with a bum hop, Machado will play his preferred position. It’s not the one he plays as well, but that’s another topic altogether and is, eventually, going to be Dave Roberts’ problem.

Machado is hitting .315/.387/.575 with 24 homers and 65 RBI on the year. Those numbers all get set back to zero now that he’s in the National League, however. Tonight he begins compiling new numbers.