MLB Playoff Standings Check: Who Are We Rooting Against This Week?

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MLB Playoff Standings Check: Who Are We Rooting Against This Week?

Chicago Cubs

I was taking in a lot of baseball last night while two-screening it with the Ohio State game, and things like the Ozzie Albies injury and the Cardinals’ weird walk-off got me thinking about the playoff standings around the league. Specifically: how I hadn’t checked in on them in a while.

With the Cubs long out of the playoff race, my mind tends to drift away from where things stand across the league, but (1) when I am reminded, I realize I do still care about the playoff position jockeying since I’m a baseball fan, in addition to being a Cubs fan, (2) you might be interested also and might need this kind of “oh yeah, that” reminder; and (3) I kinda want to know how things are shaking out with the new playoff structure and certain teams I hate.

Anyway, you will recall that the playoffs have been expanded this year to six teams in each league. The top two teams in each league get a bye through the opening round, while the remaining four play each other in a best-of-three series (worst division winner versus worst Wild Card, top Wild Card against number two Wild Card).

In the National League, the Dodgers are close to locking up the top seed, having long already locked up the NL West. Meanwhile, the Mets and Braves (down 1.0 game) are battling for the NL East, with the winner highly likely to get that number two seed and playoff bye. Something something go Braves something something.

The Cardinals have an 8.0-game lead in the NL Central, so that’s pretty much locked up. They’re 4.5 games back of the Mets for that second seed, which is not impossible, though they’d also have to pass the Braves to actually get it. I think it’s pretty likely at this point that the Cardinals wind up the three seed, which means they’d open with a best-of-three against the bottom Wild Card team.

The three Wild Cards in the NL at the moment are the Braves on top by a bajillion, and then the Phillies, Padres, and Brewers within a couple games of each other for the final two spots. The Giants are the next closest, but at 10.5 game back and needing to pass two teams, I don’t see it happening. It’s highly likely at this point that two of the Phillies, Padres, and Brewers make the playoffs, and one – currently would be the Brewers – is left out in the cold.

Maybe you say you want the Brewers to be left out in the cold, but it also might not be terrible to see them get the final Wild Card spot, which means they would likely play the Cardinals in that abbreviated first round, and at least one of them would have to lose before even getting to the NLDS! Your pettiness mileage may vary on that one.

Meanwhile, over in the American League, the Yankees are clinging to a 4.5-game lead in the East over the streaking Blue Jays, and 6.0 games over the Rays, each of which are currently in a Wild Card spot. The Mariners have the final Wild Card spot, with the Orioles 5.0 games back. So those are prooooobbbably going to be your AL Wild Card teams. But a further Yankees collapse would be funny.

The AL West has already been all but clinched by the Astros, who are also 7.5 games up for the top record in the American League. Whichever team wins the AL East is going to have the second best record, and thus the other bye.

The AL Central is probably going to go to the Guardians, who are up 4.5 games on the White Sox and 7.0 games on the Twins. The post-Tony-LaRussa White Sox run might be too little too late.



Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.