MLB Playoff Picture 2019: Latest Postseason Bracket and World Series OddsSeptember 26, 2019
Two postseason places and a single division title are waiting to be claimed before the Major League Baseball playoff bracket can be finalized.
Milwaukee booked its postseason trip Wednesday and it has an opportunity to catch St. Louis for the National League Central crown.
Minnesota locked up the final divisional pennant in the American League, which sends the focus solely to the three-team wild-card race.
Oakland remained in front of the AL wild-card through a ninth-inning Matt Chapman home run. The Athletics hold a slim margin on Cleveland and Tampa Bay.
At the top of the standings, Houston is close to obtaining home-field advantage in the AL, while the Los Angeles Dodgers have already done so in the NL.
World Series Odds
Houston (+200; Bet $100 to win $200)
Los Angeles Dodgers (+225)
New York Yankees (+450)
St. Louis (+1400)
Tampa Bay (+4000)
Latest Postseason Bracket
(1) Houston vs. (4) Oakland or (5) Tampa Bay
(2) New York Yankees vs. (3) Minnesota
Minnesota's AL Central title likely sets it up with the New York Yankees in the ALDS.
Houston is two games ahead of the AL East champion and opens a four-game set with the Los Angeles Angels Thursday. Three wins or a sweep will make it the No. 1 seed.
The Twins' last playoff win occurred in Game 1 of the 2004 ALDS against the Yankees. Since then, they have fallen 10 times to New York, with the most recent defeat coming in the 2017 AL wild-card game.
Home runs will likely happen often in that potential series, as the Twins and Yankees have both hit 299 balls over the fence.
Oakland used the long ball to keep its edge over Cleveland and Tampa Bay. Chapman's blast at Angel Stadium kept a half-game lead over the Rays and extended a two-game advantage to the Indians.
Bob Melvin's side heads to Seattle for a four-game series, while Tampa Bay plays three in Toronto and Cleveland has four contests remaining versus the Chicago White Sox and Washington.
After losing Wednesday, the Indians must secure a victory Thursday in order to close the gap between themselves and Tampa Bay to a single game.
Indians manager Terry Francona said the matchup against the White Sox has been a difficult one, per MLB.com's Mandy Bell.
"They play us good, man. They really do," Francona said entering the series. "I give [manager Rick Renteria] a lot of credit. They play hard, they always have. … There's certain teams that match up against you better, but they've played us really tough all year, that's for sure."
Aaron Civale, who gave up one earned run over five innings September 2 versus the White Sox, starts Thursday.
If Cleveland finishes off its divisional slate with a win, Tampa Bay will be forced to win out to land a wild-card position, while Oakland has a bit more wiggle room with its lead.
(1) Los Angeles Dodgers vs. (4) Washington or (5) Milwaukee
(2) Atlanta vs. (3) St. Louis
One day after the Nationals landed in the postseason, the Brewers followed them.
Milwaukee benefited from Jordan Lyles' six-inning quality start to down the Cincinnati Reds. Manager Craig Counsell noted the pitching staff has been key to its September surge, per MLB.com's Adam McCalvy.
"The story in this whole thing is just how well we've pitched," Counsell said. "And we did it again tonight on the night we clinched a playoff spot."
Both the Brewers and Nationals have four games remaining on their schedules.
Washington completes a five-game series with Philadelphia Thursday and hosts Cleveland, while Milwaukee has a Thursday matinee in Cincinnati before taking off for Colorado.
A win over the Reds would place the Brewers one game behind St. Louis in the NL Central. The Cardinals have lost two in a row and play the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium to close out the regular season.
If the Cardinals beat the Cubs twice, they will clinch the division and land a first-round matchup with Atlanta.
The Braves will be without Ronald Acuna for the rest of the regular season. According to Gabe Burns of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the outfielder should be fine for the NLDS.
Acuna could be one of the most important postseason players, as he has 41 home runs, 101 RBIs and a .883 OPS.
The Braves do not need Acuna for the next three games, as they are locked into the No. 2 seed five games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers.
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Statistics obtained from Baseball Reference