Tuesday, July 16, 2024

2023 MLB playoff picture, baseball standings, tiebreakers, magic numbers, postseason projections

The 2023 Major League Baseball playoffs start in less than two weeks, and there is still plenty to be determined in MLB’s playoff picture. So far, six teams have clinched postseason berths. The Orioles, Rays, Brewers and Twins have now joined the NL East-winning Braves and NL-West winning Dodgers as 2023 playoff teams. Six spots remain open in the 12-team field. The AL West is still a hotly contested three-team race between the Astros, Rangers and Mariners, and the wild-card races in both leagues figure to come down to the wire. 

In the American League wild-card hunt, three teams are fighting for two spots. The Rays have a huge lead for the AL’s No. 4 seed, and they’ll host a Wild Card Series if they can’t catch the Orioles in the AL East. The Rangers have squeezed into the division lead and will spend the next week trying to fend off the Astros and Mariners, and the Blue Jays are jostling with those three AL West clubs for the final two wild-card spots.

In the National League, the Diamondbacks have surged into the second wild-card spot and the NL’s No. 5 seed. The Phillies are hanging onto the No. 4 seed in the NL, but that spot is not guaranteed. The Marlins, Cubs, Reds and Giants are also in the mix, but San Francisco is starting to fall behind the field. The Padres, who have been under .500 all summer, are making a late push with an eight-game winning streak, but it might be too little, too late.

The 2023 MLB playoff picture is also notable for who is not in it. Those Padres, along with the Yankees, Mets and Cardinals — all playoff teams in 2022 and expected contenders in 2023 — have had disappointing years that will likely end with the regular season. The Angels saw their playoff hopes dashed in a dismal August. The Halos crashed out of the race in August and finally shut Shohei Ohtani for the season.

As a reminder, MLB now uses a 12-team playoff format with the three division winners and three wild card teams in both leagues qualifying for the postseason. The two division winners with the best records in each league get byes to the League Division Series round, while the other eight teams square off in a best-of-three Wild Card Series.

Who’s clinched?

  • Braves: Clinched NL East
  • Dodgers: Clinched NL West
  • Twins: Clinched AL Central
  • Orioles: Clinched AL playoff spot
  • Rays: Clinched AL playoff spot
  • Brewers: Clinched NL playoff spot

Magic numbers

  • Brewers’ magic number to clinch NL Central: 1

Tiebreakers

Here’s a look at key tiebreakers that could come into play to determine playoff spots and seeding. MLB uses head-to-head record as the top tiebreaker among teams that finish with the same record.

AL East
Orioles own tiebreaker over Rays

AL West
Astros own tiebreaker over Rangers
Mariners own tiebreaker over Astros
Rangers own tiebreaker over Mariners

AL wild card
Rangers own tiebreaker over Mariners and Blue Jays
Mariners own tiebreaker over Blue Jays

NL wild card
Phillies own tiebreaker over Reds, Cubs, Diamondbacks
Marlins own tiebreaker over Phillies, Diamondbacks, Cubs, Reds
Giants own tiebreaker over Phillies, Marlins, Reds, Diamondbacks
Cubs own tiebreaker over Giants
Diamondbacks own tiebreaker over Cubs
Reds own tiebreaker over Cubs, Diamondbacks

Here’s a look at the MLB standings and playoff picture for the 12-team postseason as of this morning. All division and postseason odds are courtesy of SportsLine, and you can check out the expanded standings here.

2023 MLB playoff picture

American League

Byes

  • No. 1 Orioles and No. 2 Rangers

Wild Card Series

  • No. 3 Twins vs. No. 6 Astros
  • No. 4 Rays vs. No. 5 Blue Jays

National League

Byes

  • No. 1 Braves and No. 2 Dodgers

Wild Card Series

  • No. 3 Brewers vs. No. 6 Cubs
  • No. 4 Phillies vs. No. 5 Diamondbacks

American League standings

AL EAST W L GB DIV POST
Baltimore 96 59 90.8% 100.0%
Tampa Bay 95 61 1.5 9.2% 100.0%
Toronto 86 69 10.0 0.0% 90.1%
N.Y. Yankees 78 76 17.5 0.0% 0.0%
Boston – e 76 79 20.0 0.0% 0.0%
AL CENTRAL W L GB DIV POST
Minnesota – x 82 73 100.0% 100.0%
Cleveland – e 74 82 8.5 0.0% 0.0%
Detroit – e 72 83 10.0 0.0% 0.0%
Chi. White Sox – e 59 96 23.0 0.0% 0.0%
Kansas City – e 53 102 29.0 0.0% 0.0%
AL WEST W L GB DIV POST
Texas 86 68 57.8% 89.2%
Houston 85 70 1.5 24.5% 66.9%
Seattle 84 70 2.0 15.2% 51.3%
L.A. Angels – e 70 85 16.5 0.0% 0.0%
Oakland – e 48 107 38.5 0.0% 0.0%

National League standings

NL EAST W L GB DIV POST
Atlanta – x 99 55 100.0% 100.0%
Philadelphia 86 69 13.5 0.0% 100.0%
Miami 80 75 19.5 0.0% 45.4%
N.Y. Mets – e 71 84 28.5 0.0% 0.0%
Washington – e 68 87 31.5 0.0% 0.0%
NL CENTRAL W L GB DIV POST
Milwaukee 88 67 100.0% 100.0%
Chi. Cubs 81 74 7.0 0.0% 61.9%
Cincinnati 79 77 9.5 0.0% 8.6%
Pittsburgh 74 81 14.0 0.0% 0.0%
St. Louis – e 68 87 20.0 0.0% 0.0%
NL WEST W L GB DIV POST
L.A. Dodgers – x 95 59 100.0% 100.0%
Arizona 81 73 14.0 0.0% 83.2%
San Francisco 77 78 18.5 0.0% <1.0%
San Diego 76 79 19.5 0.0% <1.0%
Colorado – e 56 98 39.0 0.0% 0.0%

Wild-card standings

American League

TEAM W L WCGB
Tampa Bay 95 61 +9.5
Toronto 86 69 +1.0
Houston 85 70
Seattle 84 70 0.5

National League

TEAM W L WCGB
Philadelphia 86 69 +5.0
Arizona 81 73 +0.5
Chi. Cubs 81 74
Miami 80 75 1.0
Cincinnati 79 77 2.5
San Francisco 77 78 4.0
San Diego 76 79 5.0

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