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MLB Wild Card Standings: Projecting the standings with four days left

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USA Today Sports

MLB Wild Card Standings: Projecting the standings with four days left

CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST UPDATE ON THE AMERICAN LEAGUE AND NATIONAL LEAGUE WILD CARD RACES

Wednesday night was key in determining the final teams that will be playing in the MLB Postseason. A Wild Card spot was clinched and another is all but over.

Beating the Cardinals 5-1 in St. Louis, the Chicago Cubs claimed the National League Central crown for back-to-back seasons. Now only the American League East remains the only undecided division.

The Twins also will be heading to the MLB postseason this year due to a loss by the Angels against the Chicago White Sox. Minnesota will take the second Wild Card spot in the American League.

While their continues to be battles for positioning and home field in the American League, playoff races are all but over in baseball.

Only one spot in the postseason remains open and that is the second Wild Card in the National League, which is currently occupied by the Rockies.

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AMERICAN LEAGUE

Unable to take the second Wild Card after their 4-2 loss in Cleveland, the Minnesota Twins (83-75) had to wait for the Los Angeles Angels (78-80) to lose. Going into extra innings, the Angels eventually fell to the White Sox 6-4

Nicky Delmonico hit a walk-off two-run home run in the tenth inning for Chicago. Sending the White Sox’s division rival to the postseason for the first time since 2010.

Delmonico’s long ball would also end any hope for the Angels to make the postseason.

Minnesota cannot catch New York and are locked to be the visiting team in the AL Wild Card game on Tuesday, Oct. 2.

There are still two races that remain in the American League. Both the AL East and American League home field is still open.

The New York Yankees (89-69) did not gain any ground on the Boston Red Sox (92-66), with both teams winning on Tuesday. Still ahead by three games, the Red Sox’s magic number for the East division is two with four games to go.

In no relation to the Wild Card, Cleveland and Houston are in a heated battle for the top seed and home field in the American League. The Indians are only one game ahead of the Astros. Tiebreaker would go to Cleveland if the two teams were to remain tied at the end of the year.

AL WILD CARD RACE (AS OF SEPT 28):

New York Yankees:     +6.0 
Minnesota Twins:           ---
 

NATIONAL LEAGUE

In short, the Rockies won, Brewers lost, and Cardinals lost.

On Wednesday, the Colorado Rockies (86-73) solidified the spot as the potential third NL West team heading into the postseason. Meeting up with another big hitting team, them and the Marlins combined for 24 runs in a single game. The Rockies won the dual and might as well take the Wild Card with them.

Being shut out, at home by the Reds, the Milwaukee Brewers (83-75) have nearly killed their shot at the MLB postseason. Now back by 2.5 games, it is a dire situation by Milwaukee after such a promising first half of the year.

Colorado’s series with the Padres is done and today is the final off day of the regular season for them. Up next are the Dodgers who currently have nothing to play after wrapping up the No. 1 seed and holding a 2.5 game lead over Cleveland for overall home field in the World Series. Milwaukee finishes their series with the Reds tonight before traveling to St. Louis for three games to end the year.

The tiebreaker between the two teams would go the way of Colorado if they were to tie at the end of the regular season.

The St. Louis Cardinals (82-76) are holding on to dear life after falling to the Cubs last night. Now back 3.5 games, the Cardinals have to win every game the remainder of the way. First it’s the Cubs again tonight, then three against the Brewers.

Updating odds on the NL Wild Card, FanGraphs.com has Colorado at a 95.2 percent chance of taking the final postseason spot.  Milwaukee, shot their chances, falling to only 4.0 percent and St. Louis has a faint 0.7 percent to claim the second Wild Card.

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NL WILD CARD RACE (AS OF SEPT 28):

#4 Arizona Diamondbacks:  +6.0
Colorado Rockies:                   ---
Milwaukee Brewers:              -2.5
St. Louis Cardinals:               -3.5    

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Rainout delays Orioles RHP Cobb's reunion with Rays

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USA TODAY Sports

Rainout delays Orioles RHP Cobb's reunion with Rays

BALTIMORE -- The Tampa Bay Rays have to wait at least one more day before taking their swings against former teammate Alex Cobb.

Cobb, now with the Baltimore Orioles, was scheduled to face his old team on Tuesday night before the game was postponed by rain.

Thus, Cobb will start Wednesday in the delayed start of this series between the only two AL East teams with losing records.

The rainout will be made up as part of single-admission doubleheader on May 12.

It was the 27th major league game to be postponed this season, the most related to weather through April since the commissioner's office started keeping records in 1986. Detroit's game at Pittsburgh was washed out later Tuesday, raising the total to 28.

Cobb, 30, spent his entire career with the Rays before signing with Baltimore as a free agent on March 21. Over six years with Tampa Bay, the right-hander was 48-35 and one of the leaders of the staff.

"He was a crucial part to this organization's success," Rays starter Chris Archer said. "He's a big-game pitcher and somebody who's very consistent, very routine oriented. The competitive nature rubbed off on me and rubbed off on the other guys in this clubhouse as well."

Cobb signed a $57 million, four-year deal with the Orioles, who will be counting on him to deliver the same kind of pitching and leadership in Baltimore.

Thus far, it hasn't gone well. Cobb got off to a late start because he missed most of spring training, and since his return he's gone 0-2 with a 15.43 ERA.

"Abbreviation has affected that," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "He's going to get going here. Hopefully he can wait one more start before he does."

Brad Miller was down to bat cleanup for the Rays on Tuesday night before the game was called. Miller knew better than to chat with his old friend beforehand.

"Definitely wouldn't talk to him on his start days," Miller said. "Thought about maybe texting him just to rattle him a little bit, but ... ."

Miller won't know what to think when he sees Cobb wearing the orange and black of the Orioles.

"It's definitely going to be weird seeing him on the mound," Miller said. "I miss Cobb a lot. He was the ultimate competitor."

And that, Miller contends, is what sets Cobb apart from most pitchers.

"He's a bulldog. Really intense, kind of an old-school throwback starting pitcher," Miller said. "He's going to go out there and do anything he can for his team. So that, for me, is obviously his biggest trait."

The rainout came at an opportune time for the Orioles, who are hampered by injuries and have lost nine of 10 games to fall 11 games under .500 (6-17).

Baltimore's projected starting lineup did not include infielder Tim Beckham, who's been bothered by a groin injury and is expected to land on the 10-day disabled list.

With Beckham out and Trey Mancini playing with a tender right knee, manager Buck Showalter would have been operating with a short bench.

Help is on the way: Baltimore claimed utility infielder Jace Peterson on waivers from the New York Yankees. He's expected to arrive Wednesday.

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Indians' 14-hit victory hands Orioles 8th loss in 9 games

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Indians' 14-hit victory hands Orioles 8th loss in 9 games

BALTIMORE — The Cleveland Indians figured it would only be a matter of time before their struggling offense provided some support to a solid starting rotation.

Jose Ramirez and the rest of the batting order finally got into a groove Sunday, and the result was a 14-hit attack that carried Corey Kluber and the Indians past the Baltimore Orioles 7-3.

Cleveland came into the game with a .211 team batting average and ranked second-to-last in the AL in runs scored. On this day, however, Ramirez hit a solo shot in the fourth inning and a two-run drive in the ninth, and Yan Gomes had three hits to lift his batting average 41 points to .261.

"When things are not going my way, I stay positive and work it," Ramirez said through a translator. "I know eventually I'm going to break out."

Ramirez has three homers in two games and a team-leading seven for the season.

"I try not to do too much," Ramirez said. "I just look for a good pitch and then I hit it somewhere."

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Kluber yielded two home runs to Manny Machado, but the Indians twice came from behind before tacking on three runs in the ninth.

"I thought we did a pretty good job," manager Terry Francona said. "When they came back, we came back at them. We kept pushing and took some better swings."

Kluber (3-1) allowed three runs and six hits over seven-plus innings. The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner walked none and struck out four to move past Charles Nagy into sixth place on the Indians' career strikeout list with 1,238.

"It doesn't matter if you feel you pitched well or didn't pitch well. The goal is to end the game with more runs they do," Kluber said. "That's what we did."

Machado's third multihomer game of the season wasn't enough to prevent the Orioles from losing for the ninth time in 10 games, a skid that has dropped them 10 games under .500 (6-16).

"You know what? There's no excuse for what's happening," Machado said. "We need to play better overall. Nobody is in here pointing fingers. We are in here together, and we are going to ride or die together."

Andrew Cashner (1-3) gave up four runs and eight hits in six innings, walking two and striking out seven. He's 0-3 with 7.41 ERA in three lifetime appearances against the Indians.

After Machado connected in the first inning, Cleveland went up 2-1 in the fourth when Edwin Encarnacion and Yonder Alonso hit successive doubles following a leadoff homer by Ramirez.

Baltimore regained the lead in the bottom half. After Machado homered, Adam Jones doubled and scored on a single by Chris Davis.

A pair of walks and run-scoring singles by Francisco Lindor and Michael Brantley put the Indians up 4-3 in the fifth.

"Once you get the lead, you can't give it up," Cashner lamented.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Indians: CF Bradley Zimmer was a late scratch with a mild right ankle sprain. He was replaced by Rajai Davis.

Orioles: LF Trey Mancini missed a second straight game with a swollen right knee. ... DH Mark Trumbo (strained right quad) will begin a three-game stint with Double-A Bowie on Monday, then play three games with Triple-A Norfolk later in the week, manager Buck Showalter said. He won't be rushed to return. "It's important we get it right the first time," Showalter said.

WELL RESTED

Indians right-hander Josh Tomlin threw a side session Saturday and is expected to start Tuesday against the Cubs. Francona opted to skip Tomlin's last scheduled start Wednesday to reset the rotation after Cleveland had two straight games postponed last weekend.

UP NEXT

Indians: Carlos Carrasco (3-0, 3.48 ERA) starts the series finale Monday night. The right-hander is 9-0 with a 1.75 ERA over his past 11 starts since Aug. 27.

Orioles: RHP Kevin Gausman (1-1, 5.57) makes his fifth start of the season after allowing 27 hits -- including six homers -- over 21 innings.

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