Labor Day has passed, and whether it’s a normal, 162-game season, or a truncated, COVID-19 60-game season, we are fully into the final stretch of the Major League Baseball pennant chase, and these next three weeks promise to be as wild as any September in baseball history. With every game becoming enormous for almost every team, we continue taking a daily look, on Sept 8, at the MLB Standings, how we got here, and what lies ahead between now and the regular-season finales on Sept. 27.

Sept 8 MLB Standings Review

How unusual has this season been so far? Four teams that haven’t sniffed the postseason in over a decade are now right in the thick of the chase. The biggest surprise story continues to be the San Diego Padres, who made it 15-5 in their past 20 games on Monday by walking off the Colorado Rockies in a 1-0 victory at Petco Park. The first game of that 20-game stretch? The Fernando Tatis Jr. 3-and-0 Grand Slam Game on Aug. 17.

At 26-17, the Padres appear to have a stranglehold on second place in the NL West, which would put them in the postseason for the first time since 2006.

In the American League, the Chicago White Sox remain tied with the Cleveland Indians for the AL Central lead, and barring a late collapse, would qualify for the postseason for the first time since 2008. But the real Cinderella story in the AL could be the Seattle Mariners, who sit just two games out of the eighth and final postseason spot.

And who currently occupies that No. 8 seed? Would you believe, the New York Yankees? The Bronx Bombers are bombing at the worst possible time, having lost four in a row and 7 of 10 entering play Tuesday to sit uneasily in the 8-spot, just 1 ½ games ahead of AL East rival Baltimore and two games up on the Mariners, who haven’t reached the postseason since their record-setting season of 2001.

The other long-suffering contender are the Miami Marlins, who haven’t reached the postseason since winning the 2003 World Series. A team often ridiculed for Derek Jeter’s curious roster construction, the Marlins were actually buyers at the Trade Deadline last week and now sit in the No. 8 seed in the NL, just barely ahead of the Rockies, Brewers, Mets and Reds in a frantic chase for the final slot.