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MLB news: Postseason bracket is set; Dodgers, Rays top seeds

MLB, Dodgers, Rays

In an extraordinary year, an unprecedented MLB postseason will feature 16 teams, eight in each league. That 16-team bracket is now set. The 60-game 2020 season has been completed. The Los Angeles Dodgers (National) and Tampa Bay Rays (American) are the top seeds in each league. The playoffs begin this week with the best-of-three wild card round. Four wild card series will be played in each league.

You might be confused by some aspects of this MLB bracket, given the standings in each league.

The Miami Marlins won more games than the St. Louis Cardinals, 31-30, but the Cardinals didn’t play all 60 games. They played only 58 but got a higher National League playoff seed than the Marlins through a tiebreaker.

It’s even more unusual in the American League, where the Houston Astros finished under .500, the first losing team in the playoffs in recent memory. Yet, the Astros are the No. 6 seed in the MLB playoff bracket because they were a second-place finisher in the very bad American League West. Second-place teams get prioritized seeding in this playoff format. The seventh and eighth seeds in each league are non-second-place teams.

In the American League, then, the Chicago White Sox (No. 7) and Toronto Blue Jays (No. 8) had better records than the Astros. Yet, because they didn’t finish second in their respective divisions, they get lower seeds than Houston for this 16-team MLB tournament.

The Cleveland Indians finished second in the American League Central, pushing the White Sox down to the No. 7 seed. The New York Yankees finished second in the American League East, pushing the Blue Jays down to the No. 8 seed.

The 2020 MLB Playoffs begin with the A.L. Wild Card Series (ALWCS) on Tuesday. The N.L. Wild Card Series (NLWCS) begin on Wednesday. All eight series will be played exclusively at the site of the higher seed. The following rounds will be played in California (A.L.) or Texas (N.L.) bubble locations.