Keep track of who has clinched a spot in the 2018 MLB postseason

Yankees clinch playoffs with walk-off in 11th (0:59)

Aaron Hicks drives in Didi Gregorius to send the Yankees to a 3-2 win over the Orioles and clinch a wild-card spot. (0:59)

The regular season is winding down, so it's clinching time in the majors. As MLB's best teams celebrate punching their postseason tickets, with champagne festivities in clubhouses across baseball, we've got you covered with all of the clinching details and an eye on who could pop the corks next.


In the American League, the team most likely to clinch a specific playoff spot next is the Oakland Athletics, whose magic number is down to one. The Astros' magic number for clinching the AL West is four.

Meanwhile, in the National League the Chicago Cubs' magic number to clinch a playoff spot is down to two, and down to five for their winning the NL Central. The next-closest team to clinching is the Brewers, whose magic number for clinching one of the NL's wild-card spots is four. Behind them, the Cardinals have a magic number of six for clinching a wild card.


New York Yankees (clinched AL wild card, Sept. 22)

With their 3-2 win in extra innings against the Orioles combined with the Rays' loss in Toronto on Saturday, the Yankees clinched a wild-card appearance in the postseason for a second straight season.

What does clinching a wild-card spot mean? Not a ton, since it was expected for weeks. The real question mark for the Yankees is securing home-field advantage over the A's in the game.

What's next? Working to become the first Yankees wild card to win the World Series. In their storied history, it's something they have never achieved.

Atlanta Braves (clinched NL East, Sept. 22)

The Braves returned to the winner's circle by clinching their first division title since 2013, having suffered through four straight losing seasons and a rebuilding effort to get there. They eliminated the Phillies on Saturday in a game in which Mike Foltynewicz took a no-hitter into the seventh inning before the Braves' 5-3 win over Philadelphia.

What does clinching the NL East spot mean? They've won their second division title since their streak of 14 first-place finishes in 15 years was snapped in 2006.

What's next: The Braves have more than a week's worth of games to rest regulars and line up their rotation for the NLDS, which starts on Oct. 4. However, they could still catch the Cubs to achieve the best record in the NL -- and secure home-field advantage through the NLCS.

Houston Astros (clinched playoff spot, Sept. 21)

The defending World Series champions are back in the playoffs. The Astros clinched, at worst, an American League wild-card spot, with a blowout win Friday night over the Angels -- thanks in large part to a huge night from Yuli Gurriel.

What does clinching a playoff spot mean? It means they're in -- with their first back-to-back playoff appearance since 2004-05. But Houston's work isn't finished, because ...

What's next: Now, the Astros turn their attention to fending off the A's to win the AL West outright -- and, assuming the Red Sox take the No. 1 seed, moving on to meet the Indians in the ALDS. Houston's magic number to clinch the AL West is six. The Astros haven't won consecutive division titles since 1997-99.

Boston Red Sox (clinched AL East, Sept. 20; clinched season's first playoff spot, Sept. 11)

The Red Sox clinched their third straight AL East title by beating the Yankees 11-6 at Yankee Stadium on Thursday night. It's the first time in franchise history they've won three division titles in a row and, according to Elias Sports Bureau research, the first time they've clinched the division with a win over the Yankees. It's also the third time they've won the division under a manager in his first full year at the helm in Boston (2013, John Farrell; 1995, Kevin Kennedy).

What does clinching first mean? In the wild-card era, 12 of the 25 teams to clinch first were eliminated in the first round of the postseason, while seven reached the World Series -- most recently the Cubs in 2016. Two of those seven teams were the Red Sox squads of 2007 and 2013, with Boston winning both times.

What's next: The Red Sox have clinched home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, so they will host the winner of the AL wild-card game, most likely either the Yankees or A's, in Game 1 of the division series Oct. 5.

Cleveland Indians (clinched AL Central, Sept. 15)

While the Red Sox own baseball's best record and the AL's likely top seed, the Indians became 2018's first division winner after their 15-0 obliteration of the Tigers. Even though Cleveland owns the AL's fifth-best record, the Tribe easily pulled away from a weak AL Central pack, with none of their division rivals getting anywhere close to the .500 mark.

What does clinching the AL Central mean? It was the Indians' third consecutive AL Central title, and it marks their fourth trip to the postseason in six seasons under manager Terry Francona. The Indians have never finished below .500 on Francona's watch.

What's next: The Indians will play the AL West champion in the division series.