ST. LOUIS — It's officially magic number season, in case you've been too caught up in the start of football.
The St. Louis Cardinals are the hottest team in baseball with ten straight wins, putting them up five games in the NL Wild Card race. Their magic number to make the playoffs is now eight.
Magic numbers are for teams who can control their own destiny no matter what happens elsewhere. If the Cardinals win eight of their 12 remaining games, they're in no matter what. But, they could win less than eight and still earn the second Wild Card spot depending on what happens with other teams.
The Cardinals are 4 games up on the Reds, 4.5 games up on the Phillies and 5 ahead of the Padres for the second NL Wild Card spot.
MLB Playoff Picture
While the Cardinals have distanced themselves in the NL Wild Card race, the AL Wild Card race is still anyone's to win.
The Tampa Bay Rays have a six game lead over the Boston Red Sox in the AL East. The Red Sox hold that first AL East Wild Card slot, but marginally. They're 1.5 games ahead of the Toronto Blue Jays, who are 0.5 games ahead of the Yankees, who are currently on the outside looking in. The Oakland A's are also just three games back of the second Wild Card slot.
The NL West race for the division continues. The San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers became the first two teams to clinch playoff spots, but they're in the same division. So one team will get the No. 1 seed and the other team will have to play in the one-game Wild Card Game to advance.
The Giants currently have a one game lead over the Dodgers.
It's not over in the NL East, either. The Braves hold a three game lead over the Philadelphia Phillies and the two teams will play a series at the end of the month in Atlanta.
Playoffs if they started today
AL Wild Card Game: Red Sox vs. Blue Jays
NL Wild Card Game: Dodgers vs. Cardinals
AL Division Series: Rays vs. Wild Card winner; Astros vs. White Sox
NL Division Series: Giants vs. Wild Card winner; Braves vs. Brewers
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