Eye on Playoff Races: Pirates looking to clinch

Is it time for the Pirates to finally clinch a playoff berth?
Is it time for the Pirates to finally clinch a playoff berth? (USATSI)

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Here we are, baseball fans. We are less than a week from the 2013 season's conclusion. For me, what sticks out the most Monday is the chance for the Pittsburgh Pirates -- easily the biggest team-oriented storyline of 2013 -- to possibly clinch a playoff berth. Let's dive in.

If the playoffs started today ...

AL wild card: Cleveland Indians at Tampa Bay Rays
ALDS1: WC winner at Boston Red Sox
ALDS2: Detroit Tigers at Oakland Athletics

NL wild card: Cincinnati Reds at Pirates (tied in record, tied in head-to-head, Pirates have better intradivision record)
NLDS1: WC winner at Atlanta Braves
NLDS2: Los Angeles Dodgers at St. Louis Cardinals

Current playoff odds, via Fangraphs

AL

Red Sox - IN
A's - IN
Tigers - 100%
Rays - 87.4%
Indians - 80.3%
Texas Rangers - 29.9%
Kansas City Royals - 1.4%
New York Yankees - 0.9%
Baltimore Orioles - 0.1%

NL

Dodgers - IN
Braves - IN
Cardinals - IN
Reds - 99.9%
Pirates - 99.9%
Washington Nationals - 0.2%

Monday's big matchups

Orioles at Rays, 3:10 p.m. ET: It's Wei-Yin Chen (7-7, 4.03) against Chris Archer (9-7, 3.02) and the Orioles' collective backs couldn't possibly be more against the wall. They've lost four in a row and their hopes of returning to the playoffs are now relegated to miracle status. Meanwhile, the Rays are in a dogfight to have homefield advantage in the wild-card round.

Pirates at Cubs, 8:05 p.m. ET: Just like getting to win number 82, this is a mere formality -- the Pirates clinching a playoff berth -- but it's still an important one.

Nationals at Cardinals, 8:15 p.m. ET: The Cardinals are still pushing for the NL Central title, but winning here helps two division rivals in the wild-card race. On the flip-side, a loss helps both the Pirates and Reds in the NL Central race. Weird times on that front.

Mets at Reds, 7:10 p.m. ET: The Reds look for their 90th win and a playoff berth.

Astros at Rangers, 8:05 p.m. ET: The Rangers are still within striking range and get an easy opponent to help get things back on track.

Tigers at Twins, 8:10 p.m. ET: The Tigers can't clinch anything outright until Tuesday, but a win Monday means the AL Central title is just one win OR one Indians loss away from being put away.

Royals at Mariners, 10:10 p.m. ET: The Royals are another team in search of a miracle. They probably need to win out, so that makes this one a must-win.

Monday's possible clinchers

  • Pittsburgh clinches Wild Card berth with a win -- AND -- a Washington loss
  • Cincinnati clinches Wild Card berth with a win -- AND -- a Washington loss
  • Pittsburgh clinches Wild Card share with a win -- AND -- a Washington win
  • Cincinnati clinches Wild Card share with a win -- AND -- a Washington win
  • Pittsburgh clinches Wild Card share with a loss -- AND -- a Washington loss
  • Cincinnati clinches Wild Card share with a loss -- AND -- a Washington loss

2013 postseason schedule

NL Wild Card Game: Oct. 1
AL Wild Card Game: Oct. 2
NL Division Series begin: Oct. 3
AL Division Series begin: Oct. 4
NL Championship Series begins: Oct. 11
AL Championship Series begins: Oct. 12
World Series begins: Oct. 23

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Snyder has been a baseball writer with CBS Sports since 2011. A member of the BBWAA, he's now covered the last five World Series beginning with the epic 2011 Fall Classic. The former Indiana University... Full Bio

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