2023 MLB playoffs: Clinching scenarios, bracket, schedule

There’s only a week left in the 2023 MLB regular season, and a few teams are already looking toward October.

Earlier this month, the Atlanta Braves became the first team to clinch a postseason berth, following it up by winning the NL East. The Los Angeles Dodgers joined them by clinching the NL West, and the Milwaukee Brewers secured the NL Central title on Tuesday night. Soon after, the Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays, still battling it out for the AL East title, both secured their spots in October. Meanwhile, clubs such as the Seattle Mariners, Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago Cubs, are battling it out for the remaining wild-card spots.

Even beyond division races, there are many storylines to watch as the regular season comes to an end and October begins.

Where do the current playoff matches stand? What games should you be paying attention to today? And what does the playoff schedule look like? We have everything you need to know as the regular season winds down.

Key links: Full MLB standings | Wild-card standings | NL madness?

Who is in?

Atlanta Braves

With a win over Pittsburgh on Sept. 10, the Braves became the first team to punch a ticket to this year’s playoffs — their sixth straight postseason berth. Atlanta followed it up by clinching the NL East crown with a victory in Philadelphia last week.

Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers secured their 10th NL West crown in the past 11 seasons with a victory over the Mariners last week, making L.A. the second team to punch its ticket to this postseason.

Baltimore Orioles

The Orioles secured a playoff berth with a walk-off win in the 11th inning against the Rays. After splitting a series win against the Guardians, they’re in the driver’s seat for an AL East title.

Tampa Bay Rays

Unless the Rays can catch the Orioles for the East crown, they will host the wild card series as the No. 4 seed.

Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers clinched a playoff spot with a blowout win over the Marlins and secured the NL Central title on Tuesday night.

Minnesota Twins

The Minnesota Twins clinched the AL Central title with a win over the Angels last week.

Philadelphia Phillies

The Phillies clinched a playoff spot with a win against the Pirates on Tuesday — and just a few hours later secured the No. 4 overall seed when the Cubs lost. Philadelphia will host the No. 5 overall seed for a wildcard series.

Who’s next?

Toronto Blue Jays

While the AL West teams duke it out, the Blue Jays are making a strong case for one of the remaining wild card spots. Their final two series come against the Yankees and Rays.

What are this October’s MLB playoff matchups as it stands now?

American League

Wild-card round: (6) Astros at (3) Twins*, (5) Blue Jays at (4) Rays*

ALDS: Twins/Astros vs. (2) Rangers, Rays/Blue Jays vs. (1) Orioles*

National League

Wild-card round: (6) Cubs at (3) Brewers*, (5) D-backs at (4) Phillies

NLDS: Brewers/Cubs vs. (2) Dodgers*, Phillies/D-backs vs. (1) Braves*

* — clinched playoff spot

Breaking down the AL race

Despite spending much of the season atop the AL East, the Rays find themselves the top wild-card team in the American League after the Orioles took sole possession of first place in the division in late July. The Toronto Blue Jays, meanwhile, are locked in a close battle for the final wild-card spots.

The Texas Rangers, like the Rays, led the division for more than 100 days this season but now finds themselves in a tight battle for the AL West title. The Mariners and Houston Astros are right behind them, fighting the Blue Jays for those wild card spots. The Minnesota Twins will be the AL Central’s sole representative in October.

And what about when these teams get to the playoffs? Here’s what their chances are for every round:

Breaking down the NL race

The divisional races in the National League aren’t quite as close as the ones in the AL, with the NL East and West locked up already. The Milwaukee Brewers have long held first place in the NL Central, too.

Now, the wild-card race is where it gets exciting. While the Phillies have a strong hold on the first wild-card spot, four teams — the Chicago Cubs, Arizona Diamondbacks, Cincinnati Reds and Miami Marlins — are within a few games of each other for the final spots. Miami and Cincinnati are the big surprises, as neither team was thought to be a playoff contender entering the season.

And what about when these teams get to the playoffs? Here’s what their chances are for every round:

Game of the day

Need something to watch today? Here’s the baseball game with the biggest playoff implications:

Playoff schedule

Wild-card series
Best of three, all games at better seed’s stadium

Game 1: Tuesday, Oct. 3
Game 2: Wednesday, Oct. 4
Game 3: Thursday, Oct. 5*

Division series
Best of five

Game 1: Saturday, Oct. 7
Game 2: Sunday, Oct. 8
Game 3: Tuesday Oct. 10
Game 4: Wednesday, Oct. 11*
Game 5: Friday, Oct. 13*

Game 1: Saturday, Oct. 7
Game 2: Monday, Oct. 9
Game 3: Wednesday, Oct. 11
Game 4: Thursday, Oct. 12*
Game 5: Saturday, Oct. 14*

League championship series
Best of seven

Game 1: Sunday, Oct. 15
Game 2: Monday, Oct. 16
Game 3: Wednesday, Oct. 18
Game 4: Thursday, Oct. 19
Game 5: Friday, Oct. 20*
Game 6: Sunday, Oct. 22*
Game 7: Monday, Oct. 23*

Game 1: Monday, Oct. 16
Game 2: Tuesday, Oct. 17
Game 3: Thursday, Oct. 19
Game 4: Friday, Oct. 20
Game 5: Saturday, Oct. 21*
Game 6: Monday, Oct. 23*
Game 7: Tuesday, Oct. 24*

World Series
Best of seven

Game 1: Friday, Oct. 27
Game 2: Saturday, Oct. 28
Game 3: Monday, Oct. 30
Game 4: Tuesday, Oct. 31
Game 5: Wednesday, Nov. 1*
Game 6: Friday, Nov. 3*
Game 7: Saturday, Nov. 4*

* If necessary

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