Football's back, but there's a lot going on in MLB this weekend you should watch

Our glorious marathon is nearing its grand finale. There are but three weekends left in the 2017 Major League Baseball season. Some races for postseason spots are all but over, one is definitely over and several are up for grabs. Let's run it all down right here in preparation for what will be an outstanding weekend of baseball viewing. 

Divisional races

The Red Sox hold a three-game lead over the Yankees in the AL East and their magic number is 14. 

The Indians basically have the AL Central locked down with a 13 1/2-game lead over the Twins. It's a formality to clinch the division and it'll happen soon, as their magic number is three. 

The Astros' magic number in the AL West is also three, and they have a 14-game lead over the Angels

The Nationals have already clinched the NL East. They trail the Dodgers by 4 1/2 games for the best record in the NL. 

The Cubs hold just a three-game lead over both the Brewers and the Cardinals with a magic number of 14. 

In the NL West, the Dodgers have a 9 1/2-game lead and a magic number of seven over the Diamondbacks

Wild cards

The Yankees are in little danger of missing the playoffs. They have a three-game lead over the Twins for the top AL spot and a six-game lead over the Angels for a playoff spot. 

The second AL spot is contested for sure, but I'm not certain we can call it hotly contested anymore. The Twins hold a three-game lead over the Angels and 3 1/2 over the Mariners. The Royals and Rangers are within five while the Orioles and Rays are 5 1/2 back with several teams in the way. 

Over in the NL, the Diamondbacks are surely in, with a 7 1/2 game cushion for a playoff spot and a five-game lead over the Rockies for the home spot. The Rockies lead both the Cardinals and Brewers by 2 1/2 games. Note the lead is less than the Cubs' lead in the NL Central, so there's a bit of a mish-mash here. 

Weekend series of note

Indians streaking! The Indians have won 22 in a row. Have you heard? Yeah, their series with the Royals that started on Thursday night definitely bears watching. 

NL Central rivalry. The Cardinals at the Cubs. That's always fun, but now the NL Central lead could be hanging in the balance. The series starts with a matinee on Friday. We don't know how it'll go, but we do know the Cardinals will leave Wrigley Field either tied, trailing by two games, trailing by four games or down by six. The two middle results are obviously the most likely, but it's a wide spread. 

"Away" games at home. When you check the scoreboard and see "Brewers at Marlins" but then see them playing at Miller Park on TV, don't fret. The series has been moved from Miami to Milwaukee due to Hurricane Irma. It's a big one, too, because of the NL Central and NL wild card races. The combatants from Wrigley Field will be watching closely. 

NLCS preview? The Nationals host the Dodgers and it doesn't seem like it matters a ton, but these are the top two teams in the NL. Plus, if the Nationals sweep the Dodgers, they are only 1 1/2 games behind L.A. for the top NL seed. That's something. 

AL East encounters. The Orioles visit the Yankees while the Rays host the Red Sox. Obviously we've got the AL East implications here but the Orioles and Rays both have an outside shot at a wild-card spot. Now's the time to get hot. 

AL West encounters. The Astros are not only looking to nail down the AL West, but they now trail the Indians by 2 1/2 games for the top AL seed. Having to face the Red Sox instead of a wild-card team seems like a huge difference, so surely the Astros would like to run that spot back down. They host the wild-card hopeful Mariners while the Rangers visit the Angels. 

Watching the Twins. The Twins hosting the Blue Jays isn't a big series in and of itself, but about half the AL is going to be pulling for a Jays sweep here.

Can Rockies take care of business? Don't get lost fully in the NL Central race if the Rockies lose a few games to the Padres. Remember, heading into the weekend the Cardinals and Brewers are actually closer to the Rockies than the Cubs. 

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Snyder has been a baseball writer with CBS Sports since 2011. A member of the BBWAA, he's now covered every World Series since 2010. The former Indiana University baseball player now lives on the... Full Bio

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