Five Major League Baseball playoff spots remain open with four days left in the MLB regular season. Thursday features another slate of crucial games, including the opener of a four-game series between the Rangers and Mariners that will go a long way in determining the AL West and AL wild-card races. is shaping up with seven teams in the field, and the Rangers and Diamondbacks could join them Thursday.
The Orioles also enter Thursday needing just one win to secure their first AL East title since 2016. Baltimore hosts the Red Sox at Camden Yards to kick off their final series of the regular season. In other AL action, the Blue Jays -- still in control of their playoff destiny -- host the Yankees and can lower their magic number to two with a victory.
In the National League, the top four seeds are set with the Braves, Dodgers, Brewers and Phillies locked into place. That leaves the final two wild-card spots open. The Diamondbacks are in control of the No. 5 seed, but their loss to the White Sox on Thursday means Friday is the earliest they can clinch a playoff spot. Further down the NL wild-card standings, the Marlins and Cubs enter the day with the same record, but Miami owns the tiebreaker and controls its own fate.
Trying to keep up with everything? We're here to help with a handy guide to what's at stake on Thursday.
Thursday's key games
- White Sox 3, Diamondbacks 1 (Box score)
- Red Sox at Orioles (Chris Sale vs. Dean Kremer, BAL -130) - 6:35 p.m. ET
- Yankees at Blue Jays (Luke Weaver vs. Chris Bassitt, TOR -190) - 7:07 p.m. ET
- Marlins at Mets (Jesús Luzardo vs. David Peterson, MIA -135) - 7:10 p.m. ET
- Cubs at Braves (Marcus Stroman vs. AJ Smith-Shawver, ATL -145) - 7:20 p.m. ET
- Rangers at Mariners (Jordan Montgomery vs. Logan Gilbert, SEA -115) - 9:40 p.m. ET
Who can clinch on Thursday?
- The Orioles clinch the AL East and home-field advantage through the ALCS with a win.
- The Rangers clinch a playoff berth with a win.
- The Braves clinch home-field advantage throughout the entire postseason with a win or Orioles loss.
- The Diamondbacks cannot clinch a playoff berth Thursday after losing to the White Sox.
- Orioles' magic number to clinch AL East: 1
- Rangers' magic number to clinch playoff berth: 1
- Rangers' magic number to clinch AL West: 2
- Diamondbacks' magic number to clinch playoff berth: 2
- Blue Jays' magic number to clinch playoff berth: 3
With the new playoff format, MLB has done away with Game 163 tiebreakers. , which begin with the head-to-head record.