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MLB playoff picture: Standings, projections, bracket, format explained as Mets, Braves fight for NL East

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The 2022 Major League Baseball season is drawing to a close and a lot still hangs in the balance as teams try to secure postseason spots. Eight teams (Dodgers, Astros, Mets, Braves, Yankees, Guardians, Cardinals and Blue Jays) have earned spots in the 12-team playoffs, with six teams battling for the last four spots with less than one week to go. The NL East is the only divisional race to come to an end. The Mets are one game ahead of the Braves for first place, with the head-to-head series set to begin on Friday.

Two empty NL spots are still up in the air as well, with the Padres closing in on one of them while the Phillies and the Brewers are vying for third and final playoff spot. In the AL wild-card race, the Blue Jays took the spot on Thursday, and the Raze and Mariners should follow suit in the coming days. The Mariners (21) and the Phillies (11) have two of the longest post-season droughts in Major League Baseball.

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Now let’s move on to the detailed standings, current playoff fixtures and postseason odds, and also remember that the structure of the postseason has changed since this year.

clinch spots

  • Dodgers: NL West Clinch, First Round Bye, NL Home Field Advantage
  • Astros: AL West clinch, bye in the first round
  • Mets: Playoffs
  • Braves: Playoffs
  • Yankees: East Clinch, First Round Goodbye
  • Guardians: Clinched AL Central
  • Cardinals: Clinched NL Central
  • Blue Jays: Placed with wildcard AL

New playoff format with 12 teams.

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During recent negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement, players and owners agreed on a new and expanded post-season structure. This new structure starts from the current season and here is a reminder of how it will work.

  • The post-season field increases from 10 to 12 teams with the addition of an additional wildcard member in each league.
  • The Wild Card game has been replaced with a best-of-three Wild Card Series that functions as the first round of the game. The higher seed in each Wild Card Series will host all the games in that series, whether it be two or a maximum of three games.
  • The top two division winners in each league, determined by the best overall record in the regular season, receive a first-round bye. This means that they go directly to the best-of-five division series, which functions as a second round.
  • The four entrants to the wildcard round in each league include the divisional winner with the worst record among divisional winners and the top three out-of-divisional winners with the best record. That division winner automatically becomes the #3 seed regardless of whether one or all of the other wildcard teams have the best record.
  • To recap, here’s how each league’s playoff seeding will play out – No. 1 seed (so far, LDS): League best; No. 2 seed (bye, LDS): second-best record among division winners; No. 3 seed: third-best record among division winners; Seeding No. 4: best result among wild-card teams; Seeding #5: Second-best result among wildcard teams; Seeding #6: Third-best result among wildcard teams.
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The League Championship Series and the World Series remain best-of-seven series, with home field advantage going to the team with the best record in each series. Note that there is no reseeding after a round.

Clear? That’s how things are now when it comes to racing for those spots and seeds.

If the season ended today…

American League

  • Bye: No. 1 Astros and No. 2 Yankees
  • Wild card series: No. 5 Mariners at No. 4 Blue Jays (winner faces No. 1 seed)
  • Wild card series: No. 6 Rays at No. 3 Guardians (winner faces No. 2 seed)

National League

  • Bye: No. 1 Dodgers and No. 2 Mets
  • Wild card series: No. 5 Padres to No. 4 Braves (winner faces No. 1 seed)
  • Wild card series: No. 6 Phillies ranked Cardinals No. 3 (winner faces No. 2 seed)

Major League Baseball standings

(Postseason predictions courtesy of SportsLine; full standings can be viewed here)

NY Yankees (signed AL East)9659100.0%
Tampa Bay857111.5100.0%
Boston (dropped out)758121.50.0%
Cleveland (signed by AL Central)8868100.0%
Chi. White socks777911.00.0%
Detroit (dropped out)639224.00.0%
Kansas City (dropped out)639325.00.0%
Houston (signed AL West)10254100.0%
Los Angeles Angels (dropped out)708632.00.0%
Texas (dropped out)668935.50.0%
Oakland (dropped out)5610046.00.0%
New York Mets (winning playoff berth)9858100.0%
Atlanta (qualified for playoffs)97591.0100.0%
Miami (dropped out)659133.00.0%
Washington (dropped out)5410143.50.0%
St. Louis (signed by NL Central)9066100%
Chi. Cubs (dropped out)708620.00.0%
Cincinnati (dropped out)609630.00.0%
Pittsburgh (dropped out)599731.00.0%
Los Angeles Dodgers (signed NL West)10848100.0%
San Diego867022.098.7%
San Francisco787830.00.0%
Arizona (dropped out)728436.00.0%
Colorado (dropped out)659143.00.0%

MLB standings wild card

Toronto (wild card location)8769+2.0
Tampa Bay8470
Atlanta (qualified for playoffs)9759+13.5
San Diego8670+2.5


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