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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.

NEW MLB BRACKET PROJECTION WITH ONE WEEK TO GO

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.

MORE NATS: DUSTY BAKER IS NOT LOOKING AHEAD TO CUBS, WANTS TO FINISH SEASON STRONG

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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Manny Machado riles up Internet with now-deleted Instagram post with White Sox baby shoes

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Twitter/ @Cut4

Manny Machado riles up Internet with now-deleted Instagram post with White Sox baby shoes

The waiting game continues for the two biggest names on MLB's free agent market. 

And just like Bryce Harper trying to foreshadow his future team, Manny Machado sent the internet into a frenzy with a post to his Instagram story. 

The image was grabbed by @Cut4 before the photo was deleted less than two hours after posting. 

Why else would the highly valued free agent post these images of Chicago White Sox baby shoes, then delete?

The White Sox are a team that has consistently been linked to the infielder all offseason. Perhaps they finally struck a deal or Machado is just showing which way he's leaning.

Or it is just a pair of shoes that could be for his brother-in-law, Yonder Alonso (who plays for the White Sox as No. 17) and Machado is toying with us all. 

This offseason is crazy and Twitter responded appropriately.

Harper of course alluded to a big reveal with MLB's The Show - nothing happened. He's still unsigned. 

At the end of the day this means absolutely nothing. Or it means everything. No one knows in this free agency. 

Oh, and pitchers and catchers report this week. 

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Baseball Hall of Fame results 2019: Oriole great Mike Mussina gets long overdue call to the Hall

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USA TODAY Sports

Baseball Hall of Fame results 2019: Oriole great Mike Mussina gets long overdue call to the Hall

Mike Mussina was already recognized as one of the greatest pitchers in Orioles history. Now, he’s been enshrined as one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history.

In his sixth year of eligibility, Mussina received 76.7% of the vote, barely surpassing the necessary 75% mark by just seven votes. He’ll be inducted this summer along with Mariano Rivera, Edgar Martinez, Lee Smith, Harold Baines, and the late Roy Halladay.

Over the course of his 18-year career, Mussina compiled 270 wins to go against just 153 losses. He had a 3.68 ERA and struck out 2,813 hitters, the 20th most in baseball history. He also was an American League All-Star five times and won seven Gold Gloves.

Mussina’s career in many ways can be described as “close, but no cigar.” He threw multiple one-hit, no-walk shutouts with the Orioles, including against the Indians when he threw 8⅓ perfect innings before allowing a single. He also was one pitch away with the Yankees against the Red Sox before Carl Everett singled with two outs and two strikes in the ninth inning.

He reached two World Series, both in New York, but lost both times. He finished 2nd in Cy Young voting in 1999, and would have been deserving if Pedro Martinez hadn’t had an all-time historically great season. He finished just 30 wins shy of 300 for his career, and it took him nearly two decades to reach 20 wins in a season, finally hitting the milestone in 2008.

Finally, with only four years remaining on the ballot, he made the Hall of Fame. This time, he didn’t fall short.

Mussina’s Hall of Fame case has been boosted by the rise of sabermetrics, By WAR, he was an obvious selection.

His numbers likely would have looked even better with more favorable circumstances. Mussina spent his entire career in the vaunted American League East, a division full of big bats and hitter-friendly ballparks.

He all spent the bulk of his career pitching in what has since become known as the Steroid Era, an obvious detriment to his overall pitching stats.

Former players have congratulated Mussina and praised both his raw stuff and his off-the-charts baseball IQ. Stuff, plus smarts, plus durability meant he was the total package.

Mussina was always destined to be an Oriole as Baltimore drafted him twice. In 1987, they took him in the eleventh round before the pitcher elected to go to college. In 1990, after his junior season, they took him in the first round.

The starting pitcher affectionately referred to as “Moose” spent a decade in Baltimore before playing the final eight seasons of his career in New York. Because of this, a debate has raged on for years about which cap he would wear should he ever be elected into the Hall of Fame.

Previously, the player himself was able to choose. Nowadays, the Hall makes the call. For some, however, the answer is obvious.

Mussina finally became a 20-game winner with the Yankees, and was obviously much more visible playing for the biggest franchise in the sport. That said, he made a much larger impact in Baltimore, both in statistics, and in stature.

When Orioles fans point to the team’s miserable track record trying to develop homegrown starting pitchers, they often point to Mussina as the last success story. The fact that their most recent win in pitcher development is now in the Hall of Fame is a tough look for a franchise that once started four 20-game winners in the same rotation.

If he does go in as an Oriole, Mussina will become the seventh member to wear the Baltimore cap, joining Frank Robinson, Brooks Robinson, Jim Palmer, Eddie Murray, Cal Ripken, Jr. and manager Earl Weaver.

Mussina is in a unique spot in Orioles history, as many of the Hall of Famers from Baltimore are thought of as Orioles through and through. None of Brooks Robinson, Cal Ripken, Jr., Jim Palmer and Earl Weaver ever wore another uniform.

“Moose” famously spurned the Orioles to join their bitter rivals when he signed with the Yankees, though it’s hard to blame him for taking the most money offered. When asked on MLB Network after the election announcement, Mussina was very appreciative towards both ballclubs and credits both organizations for getting him to this point.

It’s a slightly complicated history, but one that has largely been forgiven with time. When the announcement was made, the consensus reaction on Twitter in Birdland was that of joy for Mussina.

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