September is finally here, and division races are heating up across MLB.
While some division races are already forgone conclusions, others are far from settled.
But if you look hard enough, there’s a storyline to be found in each one.
Some of those storylines revolve around numbers, and that’s what we’re going to be looking at today.
Here’s one key number for each MLB division race.
AL East: .333
Our key number for the AL East is .333.
That’s the New York Yankees’ winning percentage since Aug. 2, and it’s the only reason the AL East is still an interesting division race.
The Yankees seemingly had the division locked up when August began, but they have far less breathing room now.
Six games currently separate the Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays.
While that’s still a decent margin, New York can’t afford to sleepwalk through the month of September, or else the Rays may take advantage.
AL Central: 8
Our key number for the AL Central is eight.
That’s how many head-to-head games remain between the Cleveland Guardians and Minnesota Twins, and those matchups may very well determine who wins the division.
As things stand now, the Guardians have a 1.5-game lead over the Twins for the AL Central’s top spot.
That’s a very thin margin, and it’s going to be an absolute battle over the remainder of the regular season.
Of those eight remaining head-to-head matchups between the teams, three will be played in Minnesota, and five will be played in Cleveland.
That’s certainly a nice advantage for the Guardians to have.
AL West: 108
108 is our key number for the AL West.
That’s how many days it’s been since the last time the Houston Astros did not have sole possession of first place in their division.
Houston has run away with it and now has an 11-game lead over the second-place Seattle Mariners.
Ending August with a W. pic.twitter.com/Ghqh6qjENa
— Houston Astros (@astros) August 31, 2022
The Astros are on their way to their sixth straight playoff appearance.
NL East: .694
.694 is our key number for the NL East.
That’s the New York Mets’ outstanding winning percentage against teams in their own division, and it’s a huge reason why the club currently leads the race by three games over the Atlanta Braves.
Head-to-head play is always crucial, and the Mets have taken care of business in that department this year.
If the Mets can continue to be successful in that regard, the Braves are going to have a hard time catching them before the regular season ends.
NL Central: 1
Our key number for the NL Central is one.
That’s how many series the St. Louis Cardinals lost in all of August, which was exactly what the doctor ordered for them.
While the Milwaukee Brewers had an up-and-down August, the Cardinals had a very productive one, and it allowed them to take control of the division.
The race isn’t over yet, but the Cardinals are enjoying a six-game lead right now.
NL West: 14
That’s the Los Angeles Dodgers’ magic number in the NL West as play begins on Sept. 1.
Dodgers magic number to clinch the NL West is 14. #AlwaysLA
— R.A. Contreras, M.A. 🖋 (@commgrad71) August 31, 2022
It’s an unbelievably low magic number for a team to have with over a month left in the season, but that’s the kind of year the Dodgers are having.
They have an 18.5-game lead over the second-place San Diego Padres in the NL West and boast a 90-39 record through 129 games.
They also have a run differential of +286, which is by far the best mark in all of baseball, and it’s 241 runs better than the differential that the second-place Padres have.
It’s just a matter of time before L.A. officially clinches the division.