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MLB · 16 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 – Arizona Diamondbacks/Cincinnati Reds
No. 4 – Philadelphia Phillies No. 5 – Chicago Cubs

It’s time to call it. No one is coming close to the Atlanta Braves in the National League. After last week’s letdown, the window has closed on the Los Angeles Dodgers, and there’s no room left for any other team to dethrone the eventual first-seeded Braves. They and the Dodgers will have a front-row seat for the first round of the playoffs, awaiting the rest of the NL challengers in Round 2. 

However, plenty remains to be decided with the rest of the bracket. The Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago Cubs sit fourth and fifth in the standings, respectively. The Phillies are 3.5 games up, with the Cubs 2.0 from the next closest team. It’s becoming evident that these teams will meet in the wild-card round, with Philadelphia welcoming the Cubbies to the City of Brotherly Love. 

The competition for the final postseason berth is more fierce. Four teams are battling it out for the final spot, and we’re entering the second half of September with a tie for the sixth seed. As it stands, the Arizona Diamondbacks and Cincinnati Reds would need a play-in game to see who takes on the Milwaukee Brewers in the opening round. Still, the Miami Marlins and San Francisco Giants are only 0.5 games back of both squads. Surely, a four-team play-in ahead of the wild card round is the type of entertainment baseball enthusiasts are rooting for after an incredible regular season.

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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 – Seattle Mariners
No. 4 – Tampa Bay Rays No. 5 – Texas Rangers

Apparently, a few crucial wins undo a month of woes. The Texas Rangers had just eight wins from August 9 through September 8 and had fallen out of the playoff picture. Undeterred, the Rangers walked into the Rogers Centre and have taken three of the first four against the Toronto Blue Jays to usurp them in the postseason standings. The Rangers have moved into fifth in the American League standings, leapfrogging the Seattle Mariners in the process. A decisive series finale between Toronto and Rangers could be the proverbial nail in the coffin for Jays’ fans. If the playoffs started today, Texas would travel to central Florida for a wild-card matchup against the Tampa Bay Rays

Of course, the Rays aren’t out of the AL East race yet. Tampa hosts the AL-leading Baltimore Orioles for a four-game set starting on Thursday. Like the Blue Jays, this could be a turning point for both squads as the O’s attempt to pull away, robbing the Rays of any division aspirations. The winner of the AL East will likely be the first seed on this side of the bracket, earning home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. 

There’s a similar level of uncertainty in the AL West. Although the Houston Astros are starting to pull away, there’s still plenty of runway for the Rangers and M’s to catch the defending World Series Champions. Seattle is 1.5 back of the Astros, while Texas is just 1.0 back. The division winner gets a first-round bye, with the two runner-ups aiming for wild card berths. Arguably, whoever ends up sixth in the AL has the easiest path to the second round, getting to take on the Minnesota Twins in Round 1. 

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