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MLB · 3 months 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 – Chicago Cubs
No. 4 – Philadelphia Phillies No. 5 – Arizona Diamondbacks

Don’t look now, but the San Diego Padres and their $256 million payroll are moving up the standings. Winners of seven in a row, the Padres are just 4.5 back of the last playoff berth. Granted, they’ll need help to get there, but the door is open. The Chicago Cubs finish the season with dates versus the Colorado Rockies, Atlanta Braves, and Milwaukee Brewers. Likewise, the Arizona Diamondbacks are on the road until the last weekend of the season before welcoming the Houston Astros to town. If the Padres can take care of business against the San Francisco Giants, we could be in for a big surprise come October 3. 

Of course, that’s precisely the type of drama baseball fans are rooting for in the modern game. That’s where the top half of the bracket is lacking. Selfishly, the Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Brew Crew have been cruising to division wins since the All-Star break. Atlanta has hit a few speed bumps this week, giving the Dodgers hope in their pursuit of the top spot. Both teams are destined for a first-round bye, but home-field advantage throughout the NL playoffs could be a tipping point. But with seven games remaining against the Washington Nationals, the rest of the Braves season is just a formality. 

Lastly, the Philadelphia Phillies have been flying under the radar. Locked into the fourth seed for most of the season, the defending NL Champions will be a tough out in the postseason. Loaded with a dangerous combination of power bats and effective arms, the Phillies also have a winning pedigree. It’s almost a foregone conclusion that they’ll host a wild-card matchup.

The following two weeks will reveal everything we need to know, not least NL seeding. 

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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/Texas Rangers
No. 4 – Tampa Bay Rays No. 5 – Toronto Blue Jays

What a topsy-turvy week it’s been in the American League. After sweeping the Toronto Blue Jays at home and moving into the fifth seed, the Texas Rangers proceeded to drop four in a row to the Cleveland Guardians and Boston Red Sox. Undeterred, they fought back against the Red Sox to win the series and move back into a tie with the Seattle Mariners for the final postseason berth. But with the Mariners and Rangers playing each other seven times over the last two weeks of the season, the prevailing team all but guarantees themselves a spot in the playoffs. Whichever team clinches the final berth travels to friendly Minnesota for a date with the Twins. 

Similarly, the Blue Jays fate could come down to how they perform against their own division rival. The Tampa Bay Rays host the Jays for a three-game set this weekend before they renew acquaintances north of the border over the last weekend of the season. Toronto’s staff has picked themselves up by their bootstraps, allowing just seven earned runs over their past five outings. Tampa hasn’t given up on its divisional aspirations, but the odds are stacked against them now. 

Still, the Baltimore Orioles remain the class of the AL. The O’s split a four-game series with the Rays last weekend, continuing to hold steady as the first seed. They asserted dominance over the Astros, taking two of three against the defending World Series Champions this week. It wasn’t until a ninth-inning come-from-behind win in the series finale that the Astros were even in it. Inevitably, the inexperienced narrative will pop up in the postseason; as it stands now, no one is touching the Orioles.

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