MLB playoff picture, standings, postseason bracket: NL playoff spots up for grabs heading into final day


Major League Baseball’s 60-game 2020 regular season is set to wrap up Sunday, but multiple playoff spots in the NL remain up for grabs. In the AL, we’ve still got the AL Central to sort out and seeding throughout the bracket. 

Here’s where things stand right now.

If the season ended right now

The season does not end right now, but if it did, the postseason brackets would look like this:

American League
No. 1 Rays vs. No. 8 Blue Jays
No. 2 Twins vs. No. 7 Cleveland
No. 3 A’s vs. No. 6 Astros
No. 4 White Sox vs. No. 5 Yankees

National League
No. 1 Dodgers vs. No. 8 Brewers
No. 2 Braves vs. No. 7 Reds
No. 3 Cubs vs. No. 6 Marlins
No. 4 Padres vs. No. 5 Cardinals

The top three seeds are the division winners and the next three seeds are the second-place teams. The final two spots go to the remaining teams with the best records. The first round (Wild Card Series) is a best-of-three series with all three games at the higher seed’s ballpark. The second round (LDS) is a best-of-five and the final two rounds (LCS and World Series) are best-of-sevens.

Aside from locking in home-field advantage in the Wild Card Round, there is no real benefit to winning the division this season. There’s no one-and-done Wild Card Game to avoid, and even home-field advantage is less of an advantage because fans will not be allowed into ballparks during the postseason, at least during the early rounds. Batting last is a real benefit, but that’s about it for home-field advantage. 

It is important to note MLB will not play any tiebreaker games this season to allow for an expedited postseason schedule. All ties with be resolved mathematically, even if two teams finish with identical records for the No. 8 seed. Here’s how MLB will break ties this year:

  1. Head-to-head record (if applicable).
  2. Intradivision record.
  3. Record in final 20 division games (plus one until the tie is broken).

MLB will play the LDS, LCS and World Series in a bubble. The American League bubble will be in Southern California (Dodger Stadium and Petco Park) while the National League bubble will be in Texas (Globe Life Field and Minute Maid Park). The World Series will be played at the Rangers‘ Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.

In the hunt

  • American League: Every team outside the top eight has been eliminated.
  • National League: Giants (tied for No. 8 spot but lose tiebreaker to Brewers), Phillies (1.0 GB)

So here’s how the NL will be sorted out on Sunday: 

  • The winner of the Brewers-Cardinals game is in. 
  • The Giants are in if they beat the Padres, and the Brewers lose to the Cardinals.
  • If the Brewers lose to the Cardinals, they’re still in if the Giants lose. 
  • If the Cardinals lose and the Giants win, St. Louis will be forced to play their canceled doubleheader against the Tigers on Monday. They hold the tiebreaker over the Giants by virtue of their superior intradivisional record.
  • Don’t forget the Phillies. If they win Sunday over the Rays, they’re potentially still alive. They hold tiebreakers over the Brewers and Giants, so if the Phillies wind up tied at 29-31 for a playoff spot with one or both of those teams, then Philly makes it. Needless to say, the odds are against them. 

Already clinched

  • Athletics: Clinched AL West
  • Braves: Clinched NL East, No. 2 seed in NL
  • Dodgers: Clinched NL West, No. 1 seed in NL
  • White Sox: Clinched postseason spot
  • Rays: Clinched AL East, No. 1 seed in AL
  • Twins: Clinched postseason spot
  • Yankees: Clinched postseason spot
  • Padres: Clinched postseason spot
  • Cleveland: Clinched postseason spot
  • Cubs: Clinched NL Central, No. 3 seed in NL
  • Blue Jays: Clinched postseason spot
  • Marlins: Clinched postseason spot
  • Reds: Clinched postseason spot
  • Astros: Clinched postseason spot

MLB standings

Below are the MLB standings after Saturday’s slate. 

* = clinched playoff berth

1. Rays* 39 20 .661
2. Twins* 36 23 .610
3. Athletics* 35 24 .593
4. White Sox* 35 24 .593
5. Yankees* 33 26 .559
6. Astros* 29 30 .492
7. Cleveland* 34 25 .576
8. Blue Jays* 32 27 .542
1. Dodgers* 42 17 .712
2. Braves* 35 24 .593
3. Cubs* 33 26 .559
4. Padres* 36 23 .610
5. Cardinals 29 28 .509
6. Marlins* 30 29 .508
7. Reds* 30 29 .508
8. Brewers 29 30 .492
9. Giants 29 30 .492
10. Phillies 28 31 .475 1.0

Sunday’s notable games

(All times U.S./Eastern)

  • Padres at Giants, 3:05 p.m.
  • Marlins at Yankees, 3:05 p.m.
  • Orioles at Blue Jays, 3:07 p.m.
  • Pirates at Cleveland, 3:10 p.m.
  • Mariners at Athletics, 3:10 p.m.
  • Reds at Twins, 3:10 p.m.
  • Phillies at Rays, 3:10 p.m.
  • Cubs at White Sox, 3:10 p.m.
  • Brewers at Cardinals, 3:15 p.m.

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