It’s mid-September and that means it’s officially clinching season 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.
WHO IS IN
Boston Red Sox (Clinched season’s first playoff spot)
The Red Sox became the first team to officially punch a ticket to October with a 7-2 win against the Blue Jays on Tuesday night. Boston clinched in its 145th game of the season, which is tied for the sixth-earliest by any team in the Wild Card era (excluding the strike-shortened 1995 season) and is the earliest the Red Sox have ever clinched a spot, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
What does clinching first mean? In the Wild Card era, 12 of the 25 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: An AL East crown is the next prize within Boston’s reach as the Red Sox sit comfortably ahead of the Yankees in the division with two-plus weeks to go.
WHO COULD BE NEXT
While the Red Sox own baseball’s best record and likely the season’s first postseason spot, the Indians are a shoo-in to become 2018’s first division winner. Even though Cleveland owns the AL’s fifth-best record, the Tribe has easily pulled away from an AL Central with no other teams playing anywhere close to the .500 mark.