It's the final countdown to the MLB palyoffs
The GIST: The race to October baseball is on, with just one weekend of regular-season action to go before the postseason begins next week. And the grand finale will be a big one, with one division title and plenty of Wild Card (WC) spots still up for grabs.
The context: Quick refresher: 12 teams will make the postseason this year — six from the National League (NL) and six from the American League (AL). Within each league, the three division winners (East, Central, and West) earn a spot, plus three WC teams, aka the squads who have the next best records in each league.
NL: All three division titles are accounted for with the MLB-best Atlanta Braves taking the East for the sixth straight year, Milwaukee Brewers reclaiming the Central, and the LA Dodgers set to finish as the best in the West for the ninth time in the last 10 seasons.
- But the NL WC is where things get, well, wild. The Philadelphia Phillies are the only NL squad to clinch, leaving five teams still in the hunt for the two remaining spots. Talk about down to the wire.
AL: The 2023 AL playoff picture will feature some unfamiliar faces — the Baltimore Orioles and Minnesota Twins are back for the first time since 2016 and 2020, respectively, after the Os clinched the East last night and the Twins nabbed the lowly Central last week. Meanwhile, the Texas Rangers, who last played October baseball in 2016, are on the cusp of nabbing the West.
- And with the Tampa Bay Rays guaranteed a WC berth, that leaves the Toronto Blue Jays, defending
cheaterchampion Houston Astros, and Seattle Mariners jockeying for the final two spots.
- Lucky for Jays fans, the Blue Birds control their own destiny: two wins out of their upcoming three games vs. the Rays is their easiest path to the postseason. Simple as that.