Postseason Watch: Bracket, tiebreakers and more

5:16 AM UTC

While a lot can happen in the standings between now and when the postseason starts on Oct. 3, here is what the playoff picture looks like heading into Friday's games.


AL Wild Card Series (starts Oct. 3)
Best-of-three format (all games at higher seed)
Rangers (6) at Twins (3)
Blue Jays (5) at Rays (4)

Orioles (1) and Astros (2) have byes

NL Wild Card Series (Oct. 3)
Best-of-three format (all games at higher seed)
Marlins (6) at Brewers (3)
D-backs (5) at Phillies (4)

Braves (1) and Dodgers (2) have byes

AL Division Series (starts Oct. 7)
Best-of-five format
Rays/Blue Jays at Orioles
Twins/Rangers at Astros

NL Division Series (starts Oct. 7)
Best-of-five format
Phillies/D-backs at Braves
Brewers/Marlins at Dodgers


Since 2022, all ties in the standings -- for a division title or Wild Card spot, or to determine playoff seeding -- have been determined solely by a series of mathematical tiebreakers, rather than on the field. A full breakdown of the current methodology can be seen here, but to summarize, the top three elements are, in order: head-to-head record, intradivision record (i.e. within the same division) and then record against opponents in the same league but a different division.

See here for a full breakdown of the key potential tiebreaker scenarios for each contender in 2023.

Here is a look at a few examples of how tiebreakers could come into play:

  • By taking the season series against the Rays, the Orioles hold the tiebreaker advantage in the AL East. If the two teams were to finish the season with the same record, the AL East -- and the No. 1 seed -- would go to the Orioles.
  • The Cubs are on the losing end of tiebreakers against the D-backs, Reds, Marlins and Phillies, giving all of those teams the advantage if they were to finish the season in a tie with Chicago.
  • The Mariners and Rangers have the same record (84-68) right now, but the tiebreaker advantage gives Texas the advantage based on head-to-head record.
  • After sweeping a four-game series against the Blue Jays from Sept. 11-14, the Rangers (6-1 vs. Toronto) claimed the tiebreaker advantage for an AL Wild Card spot if both teams end up with the same record.


Who has clinched: The Braves have clinched the NL East and a first-round bye and the Dodgers have clinched the NL West. The Orioles (95-58) and Rays (94-60) have each clinched a postseason berth. The AL East (Orioles or Rays) clinched the No. 1 AL seed.

Who is next: The Twins (81-72) have a magic number of one to clinch the AL Central. The Brewers (87-66) have a magic number of two to clinch the NL Central. The Dodgers (94-58) have a magic number of two to clinch a top-two seed and Wild Card bye.

3 key games from yesterday

3 key games today

Tight races to watch

AL East: Orioles lead Rays by 1 1/2 games (Baltimore also holds the tiebreaker advantage)

AL West: Astros lead Rangers and Mariners by 1/2 game

AL Wild Card: The Rangers and Mariners have the same record but Texas holds the tiebreaker advantage

NL Wild Card: The D-backs hold the second WC spot by 2 games over the Marlins, who are tied with the Cubs but have the head-to-head tiebreaker. The Reds are 1/2 game back of both the Cubs and Marlins, and the Giants are three games back of the final Wild Card spot.

Trends of note

Heading up: Arizona has won five games in a row after sweeping the Cubs last weekend and sweeping a two-game set against the Giants on Tuesday and Wednesday. The D-backs have a two-game lead over the Cubs for a playoff spot with nine games left in both teams' seasons.

Heading down: The Giants are 6-13 in September, including losses in six of their past seven games, as they have fallen to three games out of a Wild Card spot.

Contender Breakdown

Clinched postseason berth: Braves, Dodgers, Orioles, Rays

Almost there (90% postseason odds or better): Astros, Twins, Brewers, Phillies

In good shape (50-89% postseason odds): D-backs, Blue Jays, Rangers, Mariners, Marlins

In the mix (10-49% postseason odds): Cubs, Reds

Still alive (Postseason odds above 0%): Giants, Padres