The 2017 MLB playoffs are almost set in stone.
Of the 10 postseason spots between the American League and National League, just one—the second NL wild card—is still up for grabs. Three teams are in the running for that berth, with the Colorado Rockies in pole position ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals as the final weekend of the season approaches.
There's still some jockeying for position to be done among those that have already clinched in some capacity, at least in the American League. The top seed on the Junior Circuit remains up for grabs, with the Cleveland Indians and Houston Astros running nearly neck and neck. The New York Yankees have an outside shot at catching the Boston Red Sox in the AL East and avoiding the dreaded one-game playoff.
Here's a look at the current matchups and World Series odds as September gives way to October.
Current Playoff Matchups
Wild Card Game: New York Yankees vs. Minnesota Twins
ALDS: Cleveland Indians vs. New York Yankees/Minnesota Twins
ALDS: Houston Astros vs. Boston Red Sox
Wild Card Game: Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Colorado Rockies
NLDS: Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Arizona Diamondbacks/Colorado Rockies
NLDS: Washington Nationals vs. Chicago Cubs
Odds to Win 2017 World Series
Los Angeles Dodgers: 3-1
Cleveland Indians: 7-2
Houston Astros: 5-1
Washington Nationals: 7-1
Boston Red Sox: 8-1
Chicago Cubs: 8-1
Arizona Diamondbacks: 14-1
New York Yankees: 14-1
Minnesota Twins: 33-1
Colorado Rockies: 40-1
Milwaukee Brewers: 66-1
St. Louis Cardinals: 75-1
Odds courtesy of OddsShark
This season's stretch run has been largely devoid of the usual drama in the standings. Fortunately, the near-constant churn of baseball history in the making has kept things interesting on diamonds across the country.
Out west, the Los Angeles Dodgers' mysterious slump from late August into September ended the club's pursuit of the best regular-season record ever. It did not, however, stop the Blue Crew's pursuit of tying at least one team milestone. If Dave Roberts' ballclub sweeps the Rockies in Denver this weekend, it will match the franchise record of 105 victories.
Not that such an impressive tally will do anything to guarantee L.A. its first World Series championship since 1988. The Brooklyn squad that owns the club-high watermark for wins went on to lose the 1953 World Series to the Yankees in six games.
What's more important is that the Dodgers' dalliance with the record books secured home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. The loss of Adrian Gonzalez to a back injury may hurt, but L.A. has more than enough sluggers in its lineup between Corey Seager (22 home runs, 76 RBI), Yasmani Grandal (22 homers, 58 RBI), Chris Taylor (21 homers, 70 RBI), Yasiel Puig (27 homers, 72 RBI) and rookie Cody Bellinger (39 homers, 96 RBI) to provide one of baseball's best pitching staffs with all the run support it needs.
Elsewhere in the NL, the Cubs will look to repeat an important bit of history. Last year's champions locked down a shot at defending their first World Series title in 108 years by beating the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday, 5-1, to claim the NL Central crown. In doing so, Chicago became the first World Series winner to repeat as a division champion since the Philadelphia Phillies took the NL East in 2009.
"We've created a culture here where it's win or bust. We're not supposed to be here. I know on paper we are, but after a championship season, the numbers, the studies, the stats show we shouldn't be here. People don't do this. We've done it, and it feels good. And we're in a good spot going into the postseason. We're rolling."
The Cubs' second-half comeback has been nothing if not impressive. They were a sub-.500 squad at the All-Star break, mired behind the Milwaukee Brewers, before cranking out 45 wins in 69 games—a .652 percent clip that would be stunning if not for the Dodgers' historic midseason sprint.
More incredible, still, is how the Minnesota Twins managed to turn around their franchise's fortunes so suddenly. Despite losing to Cleveland on Wednesday, Minnesota snagged the AL's second wild-card slot, thanks to the Chicago White Sox' walk-off win over the Los Angeles Angels. In doing so, the Twins became the first team ever to lose 100 games one year and reach the playoffs the next.
Minnesota's Cinderella story is even more amazing when considering the team's about-face midseason.
First, the franchise's front office grabbed starting pitcher Jaime Garcia from the Atlanta Braves in late July, signaling a move into "win now" mode. Then, after just one start from Garcia, the Twins flipped him to the New York Yankees ahead of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. The team took another step into the seller's column by dealing All-Star closer Brandon Kintzler to Washington.
Twins manager Paul Molitor told his team at the time, per ESPN.com's Andrew Marchand:
"People who make those decisions have a job to do, and they are going to make those decisions in what they feel is in the best interest in our team, both short-term and long-term. It is not our place to question it. Anytime as a player, when we lose someone or something happens, the best course of action is to look at what you could've done differently to prevent it from happening. Don't look outward. It is a good time to take a little inventory."
Apparently, Molitor's message got through loud and clear. Now, the Twins will get their first taste of playoff baseball in seven years. In the AL Wild Card Game, they'll have a chance to avenge their two most recent postseason defeats against the Yankees, who swept the Twins out of the ALDS in 2009 and 2010.