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MLB Postseason 2017 Bracket Projection

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MLB Postseason 2017 Bracket Projection

Two weeks remain in the regular season for the Washington Nationals, Baltimore Orioles, and the rest of Major League Baseball.

Already, the Nationals have clinched a spot in the MLB postseason, while the Orioles are still clinging to an outside chance of making it through to one of the two Wild Card spots. If Baltimore were to make the surprise climb they would likely be the third team from the AL East to make the MLB postseason.

NATIONAL LEAGUE:

Washington is joined by the Los Angeles Dodgers as the only two teams to have claimed a playoff berth in the National League. This past weekend the Dodgers took two out of three in a pivotal series from the Nationals to hold on to the top seed. The lead is now up to 6 games for Los Angeles after it was down to only 3.5 games in the middle of the week.

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The Dodgers have not clinched their division yet but with their turnaround in Washington this past weekend it is only a matter of time. Leading the Arizona Diamondbacks by 9.5 games, the Dodgers magic number is only four. With 96 wins, Los Angeles also would be the team to hold home-field advantage throughout the postseason, including the World Series.

Only the National League Central Division has an interesting battle as the year winds down, but the Chicago Cubs maintain a four game edge over the Milwaukee Brewers. Right behind the Brewers are the St. Louis Cardinals, two games back. There is brief two-game series for the Cubs in Tampa Bay before back-to-back road series against the Brewers than the Cardinals. Within a week, this division could be flipped over. It is a near lock that the division winner will be the No. 3 seed.

Arizona is likely to clinch one of the Wild Card berths this week. Colorado currently holds the second spot, and they're 2.5 up on the Brewers.

If the season were to end today, here is how the National League bracket would look:

Wild Card Round (Winner-take-all):

No. 5 Colorado Rockies (82-68) at No. 4 Arizona Diamondbacks (87-63)

National League Divisional Series (Best-of-5):

No. 1 Los Angeles Dodgers (96-53) vs. Wild Card Round Winner
No. 2 Washington Nationals (90-59) vs. No. 3 Chicago Cubs (83-66)

Wild Card Race:

Arizona Diamondbacks:  +5.0
Colorado Rockies:              ---
Milwaukee Brewers:        -2.5
St. Louis Cardinals:          -4.5
Miami Marlins:                -12.5

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Thanks to their improbable 22-game winning streak, the Cleveland Indians now sit atop the American League. They hold a slight 1.5 game lead over the Houston Astros for the top seed and home-field advantage in the AL. Both of these teams have already handily clinched their divisions holding on to the No. 1 and 2 seeds.

The incredible run by Cleveland has also put them 3.5 games behind the Dodgers for home-field throughout the entire postseason.

As it does seemingly every year, the American League East will come down to the wire. The New York Yankees trail the Boston Red Sox by only three games with their season series already wrapped up. Of the Yankees final 13 games though, 10 are at home where they are 43-28 on the season. Boston only has seven at home and six on the road. New York also faces an easier stretch playing opponents with a combined .487 win percentage compared to Boston’s .501.

Unlike the National League Wild Card, which is essentially down to four teams, the American League is wide open. Ten teams are mathematically still alive including the Oakland Athletics who are 17 games under .500. New York or Boston will likely take the top Wild Card slot with the Minnesota Twins currently holding down second. The Los Angeles Angels (2.0 games back), Seattle Mariners (4.5 games back), and the Kansas City Royals (5.0 games back) are giving chase.

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It will be tough for the Twins to hold on to the final spot with 10 of their final 13 games being on the road. First up for them is a three-game series in the Bronx. The Red Sox and Orioles also start a three-game series in Baltimore with much on the line for both teams. 

If the season were to end today, here is how the American League bracket would look:

Wild Card Round (Winner-take-all):

No. 5 Minnesota Twins (78-71) at No. 4 New York Yankees (82-67)

American League Divisional Series (Best-of-5):

No. 1 Cleveland Indians (93-57) vs. Wild Card Round Winner
No. 2 Houston Astros (91-58) vs. No. 3 Boston Red Sox (85-64)

Wild Card Race:

New York Yankees:     +4.0
Minnesota Twins:          ---
Los Angeles Angels:     -2.0
Seattle Mariners:         -4.5
Kansas City Royals:      -5.0
Texas Rangers:             -5.0
Baltimore Orioles:       -5.5
Tampa Bay Rays:          -5.5
Toronto Blue Jays:       -8.5
Oakland Athletics:      -12.0

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Orioles get pounded by Aaron Judge, Yankees to start pivotal series

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Orioles get pounded by Aaron Judge, Yankees to start pivotal series

NEW YORK -- Aaron Judge had a pair of three-run homers for a career-best six RBIs, Todd Frazier hit a three-run homer that chased Wade Miley with one out in a six-run first inning and the New York Yankees routed the fading Baltimore Orioles 13-5 on Thursday night.

Judge hit an opposite-field drive over New York's bullpen in right-center in the fourth against Mike Wright, then lined a 448-foot drive into the second deck in left in the sixth off Rich Rodriguez. Judge has 43 homers and 96 RBIs, and with 27 homers at Yankee Stadium this year broke the ballpark's season record set by Curtis Granderson in 2012.

Rediscovering his stroke after a prolonged second-half slump, Judge had his second multihomer game in less than a week and is hitting .462 with 11 homers and 24 RBIs against the Orioles this season. When he reached the dugout after the second drive of his fifth multihomer game, Judge was given the silent treatment by Didi Gregorius, who then burst into a wide smile.

Gary Sanchez added his 31st homer to go back-to-back with Judge in the sixth, and New York rolled to a 13-2 lead and its ninth victory in 12 games. Masahiro Tanaka (12-11) won for the fourth time in five starts, allowing two solo homers in seven innings while striking out eight.

Starting a stretch that has them home for 14 of their final 17 games, the Yankees remained three games behind AL East-leading Boston.

New York began the night three games in front of Minnesota for the top wild card while Baltimore started 4 1/2 games behind the Twins with four other teams to overcome. The Orioles were one game behind Minnesota on Sept. 6, then lost six in a row.

Jonathan Schoop hit his 32nd homer in the fourth and Trey Mancini his 24th in the sixth, a drive to the second deck in right. Tanaka has given up 32 homers, 10 more than his previous big league high.

Miley (8-13) lasted 19 pitches as six of seven batters who faced him reached with hits. It was the shortest of his 194 big league starts.

New York burst ahead when Jacoby Ellsbury singled on Miley's third pitch and Judge on his fourth, and Sanchez doubled on his sixth.

Matt Holliday hit an RBI grounder with a 3-1 count, Chase Headley had a run-scoring single on the next pitch and Gregorius singled on Miley's second offering. Frazier sent a 3-1 fastball into Monument Park beyond center field for his 25th homer, his second three-run drive in a four-game span.

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Orioles snap six-game losing streak, beat Blue Jays 2-1

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Orioles snap six-game losing streak, beat Blue Jays 2-1

TORONTO -- Orioles right-hander Kevin Gausman didn't expect his team's struggling offense to produce much against Blue Jays ace Marcus Stroman.

As it turned out, the two runs Baltimore scored off Stroman in the first inning were just enough for Gausman to get the job done.

Adam Jones had two hits and an RBI, Gausman pitched seven strong innings and Baltimore beat Toronto 2-1 on Wednesday night, snapping a six-game losing streak.

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The Orioles have scored two runs or fewer in six of their past seven.

"Stroman was pitching today so I knew runs were going to be at a premium," Gausman said. "Once we got those two runs I just kind of told myself `Hey, those are your runs, that's all you're going to get today.' Unfortunately, that's the way it was but luckily I was able to pound the strike zone, keep mixing my pitches and keep them off balance."

Gausman (11-10) allowed one run and six hits, improving to 3-0 with a 1.51 ERA in six starts against the Blue Jays this season, as the Orioles won for the first time since Sept. 5 against the Yankees.

"That was very big," said outfielder Trey Mancini, who hit an RBI triple in the first. "At this point in the year there's not many games left so you want to win every single one. Today was a good start to try and get that rolling."

The Orioles began the day 4 1/2 games behind Minnesota for the second AL wild card spot.

"We're right there," Gausman said. "We've just got to keep winning games."

Kendrys Morales had three hits for the Blue Jays, whose four-game winning streak was halted.

Darren O'Day pitched the eighth and Zach Britton finished for his 14th save in 16 chances. Britton gave up two runs in the ninth inning Tuesday as the Orioles lost 3-2.

Baltimore's Tim Beckham began the game by reaching on third baseman Josh Donaldson's throwing error. Two outs later, Beckham scored when Jones doubled over the head of left fielder Teoscar Hernandez. Mancini followed with an RBI triple off the wall in center.

Toronto halved the deficit in the third when Hernandez hit a leadoff double and scored on Richard Urena's bloop double to shallow left.

Baltimore loaded the bases with nobody out in the fourth but couldn't score. Stroman struck out Seth Smith and Caleb Joseph grounded into a double play.

Blue Jays trainer George Poulis and manager John Gibbons came to the mound to check on Stroman in the sixth, but the right-hander stayed in the game after throwing one practice pitch. Stroman walked Davis to put runners at first and second with one out but escaped by getting Smith to ground into a double play.

Stroman (11-8) said he was briefly bothered by tightness in his forearm, chalking it up to lingering soreness from his Sept. 2 start at Baltimore when he was hit in the right elbow by a Mark Trumbo line drive and had to leave in the second inning.

"I'm still dealing with that and I threw six days after that," said Stroman, who started against Detroit on Sept. 8. "Still battling, nothing I'm worried about. Got a little tightness on one particular pitch but it felt fine the pitch after."

Stroman allowed two runs and six hits in six innings. He is winless in five starts.