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

Gurriel blasts 2 HRs for 6-RBI game (0:36)

Yuli Gurriel unloads a grand slam and 2-run home run to tally 6 RBIs before the fourth inning. (0:36)

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.


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's magic number for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs is one. Assuming they wrap up the No. 1 seed, 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: If the Red Sox are the No. 1 seed, the Indians will play the AL West champion in the division series.


The other teams most likely to clinch a playoff spot in the American League -- and meet in the wild-card game -- are the New York Yankees, whose magic number is two, and the Oakland Athletics, whose magic number is three.

The National League team closest to clinching is the Atlanta Braves, whose magic number is two. For Atlanta, that would wrap up the NL East.