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MLB postseason picture: Athletics dethrone Astros, clinch first AL West title since 2013

Mark Townsend
·Yahoo Sports Contributor
·3-min read

There’s a new king in the American League West.

The Oakland Athletics officially dethroned the defending three-time division champion Houston Astros Monday thanks to Houston’s loss to the Seattle Mariners.

It’s Oakland’s first division championship since 2013. The A’s finished second to Houston the last two seasons despite producing back-to-back 97-win seasons. Unfortunately for the A’s, they also suffered back-to-back losses in the AL Wild Card Game.

This season, Oakland will host a best-of-three Wild Card Series that has been added for the 2020 season. The Wild Card Series begins on Sept. 29, and the entire series will be hosted by the higher seeded team. The winner will advance to the postseason bubble in Southern California for the ALDS, which begins on Oct. 5.

Oakland Athletics' Mark Canha (20) is congratulated by Stephen Piscotty after scoring against the San Francisco Giants in the fourth inning of a baseball game in Oakland, Calif., Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
The A's will win the AL West for the first time since 2013, displacing the disgraced Astros atop the division. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

The A’s are looking to advance to the LDS for the first time since 2013. Oakland hasn’t won the World Series since 1989.

It’s an achievement worth celebrating for Oakland. Baseball fans everywhere are reveling in it with them because of Houston’s fall from grace stemming from the sign-stealing scandal.

Of course, it’s not over for the Astros yet, either. Despite their mediocre (27-27) record, they can still clinch a spot in MLB’s expanded postseason field. All they’ll have to do is maintain second place in the AL West.

Magic Number Countdown

RAYS: The Rays beat the Blue Jays on Monday, putting them on the cusp of an AL East title. Their magic number for their first division crown since 2010 is just one now.

BRAVES: The with a 5-4 win Monday over the Marlins, the Braves’ magic number to clinch a playoff spot is down to two, with their magic number to clinch the division at three. Seems like both could happen in short order against the second-place Marlins.

CUBS: The Cubs beat the Pirates on Monday and the St. Louis Cardinals lost, meaning their magic number for the NL Central title is down to four. However, their magic number to clinch a playoff spot is two.

DODGERS: The Dodgers were idle on Monday, as were the Padres, so their magic number remains three to clinch the NL West.

Key Races

AL CENTRAL: The White Sox took another L on Monday, which helped the second-place Twins, who didn’t play. Chicago’s lead in the AL Central is now just 1.5 games.

NL WILD CARD: This still looks like it will be the messiest race in the final week. The Reds got a tiny bit of breathing room as they won, the Phillies lost and the Giants lost. The Reds have a half-game lead for the top spot, with the Giants a full game out. The Brewers, who lost to the Reds, are also a full game out.

The Rays can clinch their AL East title with a win Tuesday. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
The Rays can clinch their AL East title with a win Tuesday. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Games to Watch

White Sox at Indians (3:10 p.m.) — With their AL Central lead dwindling, the White Sox need to win to keep the Twins away.

Rays at Mets (4:10 p.m.) — The Rays can lock up the AL East with a win. The Yankees do start a half-hour earlier against the Blue Jays, so this could also be out of the Tampa Bay’s hands.

A’s at Dodgers (6:40 p.m.) — Party like it’s 1988 as the A’s and Dodgers meet. Both teams are in the postseason, with the Dodgers still trying to close out their division.

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