MLB playoff picture: What’s at stake heading into final stretch of the season

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The 2021 Major League Baseball campaign is in the final stages of the regular season, starting to take the form of a playoff ground.

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The divisional race has all been wrapped up except for the National League West, where the two best teams in baseball — the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers — battle for the top spot.

The postseason setup returned to a 10-team format after the pandemic-shortened 2020 season allowed 16 teams. The seeds go to the division winners in order of 1–3 record. The seeds go to the 4-5 wild card winners with the best remaining two records.


Here’s a look at the current playoff picture, starting with teams that have already booked their post season tickets by September 21.

who made it to the playoffs

Giants, Dodgers, Brewers.

Who’s next

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The Rays and White Sox each have a magic number of two.

division leader

American League: Rays, White Sox, Astros

National League: brave, brewers, giants

if the season is over today

Al Wild Card Game: Red Sox vs Blue Jays (October 5)

NL Wild Card Game: Dodgers v Cardinals (Oct 6)

Elds: Astros vs White Sox (October 7)

Elds: Rays vs Wild Card Game Winner (October 7)

NLDS: Brewers vs Braves (Oct 8)

NLDS: Giants vs Wild Card Game Winner (October 8)

al wild card race

  1. Red Sox (87-65) +1.5 (91.9% chance of making the playoffs, by ESPN)
  2. Blue Jays (85-66) — (66.4%)
  3. Yankees (85-67) 0.5 (38.7%)
  4. Mariners (82-69) 3.0 (1.3%)
  5. Athletics (82-69) 3.0 (1.7%)

nl wild card race

  1. Dodgers* (97-54) +15.5 (100%)
  2. Cardinals (81-69) — (89.7%)
  3. Reds (78-74) 4.0 (5.8%)
  4. Phillies (77-74) 4.5 (17.8%)
  5. Parents (76-74) 5.0 (1.6%)

* achieved a place in the playoff

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