With the Indians and Astros clinching their division titles Saturday and Sunday, half of the divisions are locked up and four of the eventual 10 playoff teams are known with complete certainty. As the season enters its final two weeks, some of those remaining six postseason spots figure to be clinched rather soon.
In that spirit, an important task lays before us: deciding who will be the next team to clinch. Below are the cases for and against the four primary candidates for that honor.
After a quick two-game series against the Rays to start, Chicago closes out the week with four games against the Brewers. Given that the Cubs and Brewers are in direct competition for those remaining postseason spots, the Cubbies have a golden opportunity to move closer to the postseason while holding their opponents back. Now that's something to get excited about.
With upcoming series against the Padres and Marlins, the D-backs may well have the most favorable week of any of these four teams. The only downsides are that they start the week on the road and seem unlikely to get much help from the red-hot Brewers. We all know how difficult it is to predict baseball, but it certainly appears that the D-backs will celebrate a postseason spot soon.
The Red Sox are the closest to clinching of any of these teams, with a three-game lead over the next club on this list. They'll also be home for their next two series against the Orioles and Reds. Even without any help, the Red Sox have a reasonably advantageous path to clinching in the next handful of games.
Given that the Red Sox have a three-game cushion on the Yankees as well as a more favorable upcoming slate of games, it's hard to make a case that the Yankees will clinch a spot before their northern rivals. That is until one considers two things: the Yankees have the best all-time winning percentage of any franchise and they have the law on their side.
It's now time to consider the available evidence and reach a verdict: Which team will get to celebrate clinching the postseason next? Record your decision in the poll below.