The MLB playoffs are quickly approaching. While some of the division races are already decided, there are others that are coming down to the wire. The same can be said for the AL Wild Card and NL Wild Card, with countless ball clubs fighting for a spot in the postseason. Here, we'll take a look at where the playoff race stands as of today.
The AL East is a two-man race. The Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays are battling it out for the divisional crown, with the O's currently holding a 2.5-game lead over the Rays. These two teams don't meet again this season and Baltimore honestly has an easier schedule to finish out the campaign, facing the Nationals and Red Sox. The Rays meanwhile take on Boston and Toronto but they're also dealing with several concerning injuries.
The Minnesota Twins have officially clinched the AL Central title with an 83-73 record. Yes, they're the only team in this division with a record over .500, but regardless, Rocco Baldelli's group is heading back to the playoffs. That's what matters. No other team in the AL Central will make the postseason.
All eyes are on the AL West. It's honestly a toss-up as to who will emerge as the divisional champs, although the Texas Rangers certainly have the edge right now, sitting 2.5 games ahead of the Houston Astros and three above the Seattle Mariners. All three have a legitimate chance of making the playoffs but the two of them would have to qualify through the Wild Card. That would entail the Blue Jays collapsing, though.
The Atlanta Braves clinched the NL East crown in mid-September and have become the first team in the big leagues to reach 100 wins. The Philadelphia Phillies and Miami Marlins are still very much in the NL Wild Card mix, however. More on that below.
The Milwaukee Brewers have won their sixth NL Central title and will face a Wild Card opponent in the first round of the MLB playoffs. The Chicago Cubs are in the heart of the Wild Card race while the young and exciting Cincinnati Reds still have a shot, too.
The Los Angeles Dodgers clinched the NL West, which is really no surprise. The second-place Arizona Diamondbacks would be in the MLB playoffs as a Wild Card if the playoffs began today.
AL, NL Wild Card
AL Wild Card
Whether it's the Rays or Orioles who lose the AL East title, one of them will end up as the top Wild Card team. Tampa is 9.5 games clear at the top of the AL Wild Card, despite just losing two of three to the Blue Jays.
Toronto is two games up on the Astros for the second Wild Card berth. The Mariners are a mere half-game behind Houston. The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox are officially out of contention. It's down to the Blue Jays, Astros, and Mariners for the second and third Wild Card spots and then potentially the Rangers instead of one of their AL West counterparts depending on what happens in the division.
NL Wild Card
The NL Wild Card is absolutely wild. The Phillies, last year's World Series runner-up, are sitting pretty with a five-game lead in first place in the Wild Card. But after that, just two games separate four different teams.
The D-Backs are a half-game up on the Cubs, while the Marlins are only one game behind Chicago. The Reds are trailing the Cubbies by 2.5 games. They probably face the biggest uphill battle but with a week left, anything is still possible.
MLB playoffs: Seedings, tiebreakers (as of 9/25)
Tiebreaks will be determined via head-to-head record, according to Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com. If head-to-head records happen to be the even, then a team's record within their division would settle the tie.
American League seedings (9/25)
1. Baltimore Orioles
2. Texas Rangers
3. Minnesota Twins
4.Tampa Bay Rays
6. Houston Astros
National League seedings (9/25)
1. Atlanta Braves
2. Los Angeles Dodgers
3. Milwaukee Brewers
4. Philadelphia Phillies
5. Arizona Diamondbacks
6. Chicago Cubs