Now that the Red Sox have clinched the American League East, it ‘s a good time to look ahead to the postseason. The magic number to clinch home field is two, meaning the Red Sox will likely face the wild-card winner in an American League Division Series beginning Friday, Oct. 5.
Here’s a look at the other American League teams that will be in the playoffs.
The A’s are currently in second place in the American League West and will likely face the Yankees in the wild card. They won the season series with the Red Sox, 4-2, having taken two out of three in Oaland in April, and two out of three at Fenway Park in May.
The A’s are the team no one wants to face in the playoffs, having gone a major-league best 58-25 ince June 15.
Players to watch: Third baseman Matt Chapman is having a career year, batting .283 with 23 home runs and 41 doubles. Outfielder Khris Davis leads the league with 43 home runs. Shortstop Marcus Semien is the team leader in hits (155), and former Red Sox Jed Lowrie is playing second base for the A’s, batting .269.
With Manaea out for the year, the A’s do not have a pitcher who has started 20 games this season. Veteran Edwin Jackson has had a bit of a resurgence, going 6-3 in 16 starts with a 3.18 ERA.
New York Yankees
The Yankees lead Oakland by 1½ games for the top wild-card spot. If they hold on to that lead, the wild-card game would be played at Yankee Stadium, so there is plenty on the line heading into the final week of the season.
The Red Sox lead the season series against New York, 9-7, with three more games to be played at Fenway next week. The Yankees appear to be getting healthy at the right time, with right fielder Aaron Judge returning to the lineup, as well as reliever Aroldis Chapman.
They have 11 players with at least 10 home runs this season, matching the MLB record, and could set the record if Luke Voit can homer one more time. In Thursday night’s loss to the Red Sox, they surpassed their franchise record of 245 home runs.
Players to watch: Third baseman Miguel Andujar leads the team with a .295 batting average, has 25 home runs thus far and is a rookie of the year candidate. Giancarlo Stanton leads the team with 35 home runs and 93 RBIs. Judge has 26 home runs ansd 61 RBIs despite missing 49 games. Gleyber Torres, Didi Gregorius, and Aaron Hicks are potent bats in the lineup as well.
Luis Severino, J.A. Happ, Masahiro Tanaka, and CC Sabathia form a solid rotation, at least when things are going well. Severino had struggled before getting the win against the Sox Wednesday.
The bullpen is solid with Chapman joined by Dellin Betances, Zach Britton, and David Robertson.
The defending World Series champions are in first place in the AL West, holding off the hard-charging A’s, who pulled even with the Astros in late August but now trail by 3½ games. The Astros’ magic number to eliminate the A’s is seven with 10 games to play. They took the season series with Red Sox, 4-3, and defeated them last year in the ALDS, 3-1.
From July 9 through Aug. 22, the Astros went 16-19 as Oakland climbed back in the race. Houston bounced back as Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve, and Brian McCann returned to the lineup, although Correa continues to struggle.
Players to watch: Third baseman Alex Bregman leads the Astros with 30 home runs and 100 RBIs. Altuve was placed on the disabled list for the first time in his career with right knee discomfort on July 29, but the reigning AL MVP is back and leads the team with a .315 batting average. Outfielders George Springer and Marwin Gonzalez are having fine seasons as well.
Justin Verlander leads the team in wins (16), ERA (2.67), and strikeouts (269). Gerrit Cole (14), Charlie Morton (15) and Dallas Keuchel (11) also have double-digit win totals.
Cleveland wrapped up the AL Central and will likely face the Astros in the ALDS. They split a four-game series with the Red Sox at Fenway Park in August, winning the first two games before the Red Sox answered with a pair of wins to close it out. They host the Red Sox for a three-game series this weekend.
Former Red Sox manager Terry Francona can afford to rest his regulars and get his rotation and lineup set for the postseason. Trevor Bauer is returning from the disabled list after breaking his right leg last month, and the hope is that he can be part of the rotation. He was 12-6 with a 2.14 ERA before the injury.
Players to watch: Third baseman Jose Ramirez leads Cleveland with 38 home runs and 101 RBIs, followed by shortstop Francisco Lindor, who is batting .282 with 36 home runs and 87 RBIs. DH Edwin Encarnacion has 31 home runs and 99 RBIs. Left fielder Michael Brantley has a .306 batting average to go with 17 home runs and 74 RBIs. They also acquired 2015 AL MVP Josh Donaldson from the Toronto Blue Jays on Aug. 31.
Corey Kluber (19-7) will be the Game 1 starter, with Bauer, Mike Clevinger, and Carlos Carrasco potentially rounding out the postseason rotation.
Cody Allen has struggled but has still manged to record 27 saves, while Andrew Miller will attempt to round into form as he returns from the disabled list with a shoulder impingement. The Indians also acquired Brad Hand and Adam Cimber before the trade deadline.