The MLB Clinch Club

October 1, 2021

By: Carlos Alvarez

Happy Friday 

Welcome to October. The busiest month in sports is officially here. MLB, WNBA and NASCAR Playoffs pick up steam while the NBA, NHL and more soccer return. Football isn’t going anywhere either. If you love sports, October has your back.

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Clinch Club: Braves & Astros Win Divisions


Braves Sweep Phillies to Nab NL East Crown; Astros Claim AL West Again


As the MLB season winds down, two more teams have clinched their respective divisions. The Braves completed the sweep of the Phillies (5-3) to secure their fourth straight NL East title. Out west, the Astros topped the Rays on Thursday (2-1) to win their fourth AL West title in the last five seasons.


Braves Clinch (Read) | Astros Clinch (Read)


What It Means: The Braves’ win means the NL playoff picture is complete (see below). The Astros’ win means they’ll play the White Sox in the NLDS.


MLB Playoff Picture


National League (Playoff Picture Set)

NL East: Braves (86-72)

NL Central: Brewers (95-64)

NL West: Giants (104-54)

Wild Card: Dodgers (103-56)

Wild Card: Cardinals (89-70)


American League (Wild Card TBD)

AL East: Rays (98-61)

AL Central: White Sox (91-68)

AL West: Astros (93-66)

Wild Card Race: Yankees (91-68), Red Sox (89-70), Mariners (89-70), Blue Jays (88-71)


AL Wild Card Series to Watch This Weekend

Rays—Yankees Series

Orioles—Blue Jays Series

Red Sox—Nationals Series

Angels—Mariners Series

Full MLB Schedule


Additional Storylines

MLB: Yankees On Postseason Doorstep After 5-1 Road Trip

ESPN: Playoff Tracker: AL Wild Card Scenarios, Key Games & Who Has Clinched a Postseason Spot



TNF: Bengals at the Buzzer


Burrow Shines as Bengals Come From Behind to Beat Jags on Last Second FG (24-21)


Thursday Night Football pitted two quarterbacks taken No. 1 overall in the last two drafts, and Joe Burrow got the best of Trevor Lawrence on the stat sheet and the scoreboard. Burrow and the Bengals pulled a 14-point second-half comeback and capped it with a fourth quarter drive to set up the game-winning 35-yard field goal from Evan McPherson as time expired. Burrow has already won more games in 2021 (3) than he did in ten games played as a rookie (2).


Fun Fact: The Jaguars have now lost 19 straight games since starting the 2020 season 1-0, and QB Trevor Lawrence (0-4) has lost more games this season than his entire college and high school careers, combined.


QB Comparison

J. Burrow (CIN): 25/32, 348 yards, 2 TDs

T. Lawrence (JAX): 17/24, 204 yards, 0 TDs


Other Top Performers

RB J. Robinson (JAX): 18 carries, 78 yards, 2 TDs

RB J. Mixon (CIN): 16 carries, 67 yards, 1 TD

WR C.J. Uzomah (CIN): 5 catches, 95 yards, 2 TDs


Watch: Bengals Beat Jags on Last-Second Field Goal


Additional Storylines

USA Today: Joe Burrow Wins Showdown of Previous No. 1 Picks

CBS Sports: Burrow, Bengals Manage to Kick Aside Jaguars With Comeback

NBC Sports: Jaguars WR D.J. Chark Carted Off With Fractured Ankle



Taurasi Takes Over


Diana Taurasi (37 Points) Knocks Down Eight 3s as Mercury Rout Aces


The WNBA semifinals continued with Game 2s on Thursday night, but Diana Taurasi stole the show with an epic shooting performance. Both matchups are tied at 1-1 after two games in the best-of-five series. The Game 3 swings are slated for Sunday afternoon, and we’ll find the WNBA finals pairings by next week.


#5 Mercury def. #2 Aces (117-91)

Phoenix handled Las Vegas in Game 2 behind Diana Taurasi’s 37 points. Taurasi buried eight 3s (8-for-11) in an unconscious shooting night that saw the Mercury shred the Aces from the opening tip. Brittney Griner added 25 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists. (Series Tied 1-1)


#1 Sun def. #6 Sky (79-68)

The top-seed Sun got back in the semifinals thanks to a fourth-quarter defensive showcase. Connecticut outscored Chicago 21-9 in the final period to avoid the 0-2 deficit in the series. Five Sun players tallied double figures, including DeWanna Bonner (15 points, 8 rebounds) and a double-double off the bench from Alyssa Thomas (15 points, 11 rebounds). (Series Tied 1-1)


WNBA Semifinals: Game 3s (Sunday)

Sun at Sky (1:00 pm ET)

Aces at Mercury (3:00 pm ET)


Additional Storylines

WNBA: Record Night for Taurasi, Mercury in Game 2 Rout Over Aces

Yahoo! Sports: Aces’ Kelsey Plum Wins Sixth Player of the Year Award



\"🏈\"  Can Tom Brady Win the Reunion?

The narrative scoreboard is firmly in Brady’s favor more than a year after his New England departure. Beating his former team on his return to Foxborough would only reinforce how much he’s thriving away from Bill Belichick. (The Ringer)


\"⚾\"️  2021 MLB Surprise Rankings

Every spring training, fans look at how the 30 MLB rosters stack up and form a picture of how the season will play out. Everyone knows you can’t predict baseball, but that doesn’t mean we don’t try. We can’t help it! (FOX Sports)


\"⛳\"  Two Hole-in-Ones in the Same Round?

Most golfers go their whole lives without making an ace. So this should make all you weekend hackers feel just great: 11-year-old Jake Martinez of Tucson, Arizona, recently made two holes-in-one. In one round. Seven holes apart. (USA Today)




The Must-Watch List

Baseball’s last few games of the season will determine playoff seeding, and we’ve still got five teams vying for both Wild Card spots in the American League. A bunch of must-see NFL games take over the late starts on Sunday. We’ll turn the page to October next week — the busiest month in the sports calendar. Enjoy!


MLB Wild Card Races to Watch

Rays—Yankees Series

Orioles—Blue Jays Series

Red Sox—Nationals Series

Athletics—Astros Series

Angels—Mariners Series

Full MLB Schedule


NFL Week 4 (Sunday)

Panthers at Cowboys (1:00 pm)

Seahawks at 49ers (4:05 pm)

Cardinals at Rams (4:05 pm)

Steelers at Packers (4:25 pm)

Ravens at Broncos (4:25 pm)

Bucs at Patriots (8:20 pm)

Full NFL Schedule


College Football (Saturday)

#8 Arkansas at #2 Georgia (12:00 pm)

#14 Michigan at Wisconsin (12:00 pm)

#7 Cincinnati at #9 Notre Dame (2:30 pm)

#12 Ole Miss at #1 Alabama (3:30 pm)

#3 Oregon at Stanford (3:30 pm)

#21 Baylor at #19 Oklahoma State (7:00 pm)
#22 Auburn at LSU (9:00 pm)

Full CFB Schedule



SPA: Atletico Madrid vs. Barcelona (Sat. 3:00 pm)

EPL: Liverpool vs. Manchester City (Sun. 11:30 am)

MLS: LA Galaxy vs. LAFC (Sun. 8:00 pm)


WNBA Playoffs (Sunday)

Sun at Sky (1:00 pm)

Aces at Mercury (3:00 pm)


NASCAR Playoffs

Talladega Superspeedway (Sun. 2:00 pm)


*All Times Eastern



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