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MLB · 18 days ago

MLB Playoff Bracket if the Postseason Started Today

Grant White

Grant White

MLB Playoff Bracket if the Postseason Started Today

The MLB season is a marathon. Teams compete over a 162-game schedule, needing to rank among the top six squads in their respective leagues to make the playoffs. Wins are just as valuable in April, May, and June as they are in the latter part of the season, and franchises can’t afford to lose ground to the teams ahead of them.

Here’s what the playoff brackets would look like if the postseason started today.

National League

No. 1 – Atlanta Braves First-Round Bye
No. 2 – Los Angeles Dodgers First-Round Bye
No. 3 – Milwaukee Brewers No. 6 – Miami Marlins
No. 4 – Philadelphia Phillies No. 5 – Chicago Cubs

The bottom half of the National League bracket continues to be a slugfest. The San Francisco Giants have fallen out of the picture, giving way to the Miami Marlins. Still, the Giants, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Cincinnati Reds are within 2.5 games of the final playoff position, ensuring the stakes stay high over the season’s last few weeks. 

One of the more compelling storylines arising from the NL this week is the dominance of the Atlanta Braves. Hot-lanta took three of four against the second-seeded Los Angeles Dodgers, asserting themselves as the best in the bigs. Although both teams are projected to have opening-round byes, the Braves have a pronounced World Series advantage in the betting market. Depending on where you shop, Atlanta is riding as high as +210 to win it all. 

The NL Central is the only division still up for grabs in the senior circuit. The Milwaukee Brewers have a slim 1.5-game advantage over the Chicago Cubs, up 5.5 over the Reds. If the postseason started today, Milwaukee would host the Fish for a wild-card matchup at American Family Field. Likewise, the Cubbies would have to travel to the city of brotherly love for a meeting with the reigning NL Champions, the Philadelphia Phillies.

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American League

No. 1 – Baltimore Orioles First-Round Bye
No. 2 – Houston Astros First-Round Bye
No. 3 – Minnesota Twins No. 6 – Toronto Blue Jays
No. 4 – Tampa Bay Rays No. 5 – Seattle Mariners

The intensity is being ratcheted up in the American League. The Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners are jockeying for position in the AL West. Similarly, the Baltimore Orioles are edging out the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East. The Astros and M’s have a three-game set at the end of the month, with the O’s and Rays meeting next week. Both series will go a long way in determining which squads emerge with a first-round bye. Keep your eyes on the top two spots in the AL.

The second-place finishers in both divisions could be destined to face each other in Round 1. Tampa Bay has a comfortable lead in the fourth seed, accumulating the second-best record in the American League. Inevitably, they will face the second wild card team, which should be the runner-up from the West. That means the Mariners would travel east to invade Tropicana Field for a best of three come October. 

The Toronto Blue Jays have usurped the Texas Rangers for the final playoff berth. The Jays are clinging to that spot, sitting a mere 0.5 games up on the Rangers. Texas is trying to avoid a monumental implosion. Early in July, Texas led the AL with the best record; however, they’ve fallen flat on their faces more recently, dropping 15 of their last 18.

Whichever team claims the final spot has a decided advantage over the Minnesota Twins, who can’t seem to get out of their own way. Minnesota has been hovering around the .500 mark, which is good enough for an AL Central crown but probably not good enough for a postseason win. The last time the Twins won a playoff series was way back in 2002. That drought won’t be coming to an end any time soon. 

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