The weather is turning a little cooler, school is back in session, and football is on TV again. It’s the unmistakable signs of fall and with it, the nearing of the major league postseason.
As Red Sox starter Doug Fister said after Wednesday’s Sox win, “It’s definitely a fun time of year, getting anxious for what may be to come.”
Where We Stand
At the start of the day on Friday, Boston is 79-61 with a 3½ game lead in the division. There are 22 games remaining in the regular season. The Sox’ Magic Number is 20.
The American League race in the East remains contested, while in the West and Central divisions the leaders are undisputed. The Astros, so solid all season, are 13½ games ahead of the second-place Angels. The Indians, who start the weekend with a 13-game win streak, hold a 10½ lead over the surprisingly solid Twins.
In the senior circuit, the Nationals and Dodgers have a strong grip on first place with 17 and 11½ game leads in the East and West divisions, respectively. The National League Central, meanwhile, is as tight as the AL East with the Cubs leading the pack by four games over both the Cardinals and Brewers.
The Road Ahead
The Red Sox face the Rays for three games starting Friday then enjoy a day off before taking on the Athletics for three next week.
After that, it’s the final road trip of the regular season with three against the Rays, three more at Baltimore, and then three at Cincinnati. The Sox then finish the regular season at Fenway with three last games against the Blue Jays and then four against the Astros.
If It Ended Today
If the postseason began today the Twins and Yankees would square off in a winner-take-all, one-game wild card contest. The winner of that game would face the Astros in an AL Division Series.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox would face the Indians in the other AL Division Series with Cleveland having home field advantage by virtue of their better regular season win percentage (.597 for the Indians, .564 for the Sox).
Over in the National League, the Rockies and Diamondbacks would face off to become the wild card winner, earning the right to take on the Dodgers in an NL Division Series. The other NLDS would match up the Cubs and Nationals, with Chicago owning home field advantage.