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MLB · 2 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/Miami Marlins
No. 4 – Philadelphia Phillies No. 5 – Arizona Diamondbacks

What a treat. Four days left in the MLB’s regular season, and we still have no clarity on which teams will advance to the postseason or what the wild card round matchups will look like. Of course, the Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers, and Philadelphia Phillies have punched their respective tickets. Still, there’s plenty to be decided among the bottom half of the bracket over the final weekend of the campaign. 

The Arizona Diamondbacks are the next team poised to clinch a playoff berth. Arizona is 2.0 games clear of the Chicago Cubs and Miami Marlins, 3.5 up on the Cincinnati Reds. At this point, the only thing that could keep the D-Backs out of the playoffs is a four-game slide to end the season. We can’t write that possibility off, given the swings we’ve seen this season. 

That leaves the Cubbies, Marlins, Cincinnati Reds, and San Diego Padres battling for the final berth. San Diego officially eliminated the San Francisco Giants from postseason contention with an extra-innings victory on Wednesday night. However, they’ll need everything to go their way if they hope to leapfrog the three teams ahead of them.

Chicago controls its own destiny, holding a tiebreaker over the Fish. Their penchant for late-game collapses has done them no favors to end the season. Surely, the Brewers would be happy to knock their divisional foes from their playoff perch, leaving the door open for a potential Marlins or Reds entry. 

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American League

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

Down to the final few games of the season, and all but one of the American League divisions is still up for grabs. Somehow, the playoff team with the worst record is the only squad to know its landing spot. For the third time in five seasons, the Minnesota Twins are AL Central champions. They have almost no chance of catching the teams ahead of them, relegating the Twins to hosting a first-round series against the lowest wild-card seed. But with so much left to be determined in the AL East and West, there’s no telling which team that might be. 

As it stands, the Houston Astros would claim the last spot, setting up a clash in Minnesota. However, MLB schedule-makers did us all a favor, leaving the division to unfold over the final weekend. The Seattle Mariners had a chance to usurp the Astros and Texas Rangers, but they couldn’t get out of their own way. Seattle has dropped five of its last six, all coming against the Stros and Rangers, putting them behind the eight-ball this weekend.

With a four-game series against Texas occurring in their friendly confines, the M’s could still catch the Rangers atop the standings. But Houston still stands between the M’s and a playoff spot, meaning they would need help from the Diamondbacks this weekend. A Mariners sweep of the Rangers and the D-Backs taking all three against the Astros would guarantee Seattle a postseason berth. 

We can’t look past the AL East, as a regular-season finale between the Toronto Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays will go a long way to determining which teams end up in the wild-card spots. As of September 28, the Blue Jays are 0.5 games up on the Astros and 2.0 clear of the Mariners. With a game in hand, Toronto can put more distance between themselves and Houston ahead of the weekend. Another loss to the New York Yankees shifts the balance, leaving the teams neck-and-neck with three games to play. Moreover, Tampa still has an outside shot of catching the Baltimore Orioles atop the AL East. The Boston Red Sox could do the Rays a favor, further upsetting the balance in the AL.

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