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 COULD BE NEXT
The defending champion Astros are closest to clinching a playoff spot with their magic number down to two. Next closest in the American League are the Yankees at five and the A's at seven.
The Red Sox are closest to wrapping up a division title; their magic number to win the AL East is two so they would clinch with one win this week at Yankee Stadium. Houston's magic number to clinch the West is eight.
The National League teams that are closest to clinching are the Cubs and Braves, who both have a magic number of seven. For Atlanta, that would mean wrapping up the NL East title while Chicago would be securing at least a spot in the wild-card game. The Cubs' magic number to clinch the Central is 10.
WHO IS IN
Boston Red Sox (Clinched season's first playoff spot, Sept. 11)
The Red Sox became the first team to officially punch a ticket to October with a 7-2 victory 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 teams to clinch first 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 American League East crown is the next prize within Boston's reach as the Red Sox sit comfortably ahead of the New York Yankees in the division with two-plus weeks to go. Their magic number to clinch the division is two, meaning any win in the next three games against the Yankees will wrap it up.
Cleveland Indians (clinched AL Central, Sept. 15)
While the Red Sox own baseball's best record and the AL's likely top seed, the Indians became 2018's first division winner after their 15-0 obliteration of the Tigers. Even though Cleveland owns the AL's fifth-best record, the Tribe easily pulled away from a weak AL Central pack, with none of their division rivals getting anywhere close to the .500 mark.
What does clinching the AL Central mean? It was the Indians' third consecutive AL Central title, and marks their fourth trip to the postseason in six seasons under manager Terry Francona. The Indians have never finished below .500 on Tito's watch.