Major League Baseball’s shortened 60-game regular season is set to wrap up Sunday, Sept. 27. Several spots in the expanded 16-team postseason field remain up for grabs. Things in the National League are a little more wide open than they are in the American League, but there are plenty of compelling races.

With that in mind, we here at CBS Sports will keep you apprised of the postseason picture on a daily basis from now through the end of the regular season. Here’s where things stand right now.

If the season ended today

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

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

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

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 Round) 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. 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 is reportedly looking into a bubble scenario for all or part of the postseason, potentially in Southern California and/or Texas. MLBPA player rep Zack Britton recently told reporters, including Erik Boland of Newsday, that MLB has not yet presented the union with any plans for a neutral site postseason.

In the hunt

MLB standings

Below are the MLB standings heading into Wednesday. Division title and postseason percentages are from SportsLine.

American League

Chicago 27 16 .628 33.4% 99.8%
Cleveland 26 17 .605 1.0 37.7% 99.8%
Minnesota 27 18 .600 1.0 28.5% 99.8%
Detroit 19 21 .463 7.0 <1.0% 2.3%
Kansas City 16 28 .364 11.5 <1.0% <1.0%

National League

L.A. Dodgers 32 12 .727 98.2% 100.0%
San Diego 28 17 .622 4.5 1.8% 99.7%
San Francisco 23 21 .523 9.0 <1.0% 72.5%
Colorado 20 23 .465 11.5 <1.0% 22.7%
Arizona 15 29 .341 17.0 <1.0% <1.0%

Thursday’s notable games

All times Eastern

  • Tigers at Cardinals, 2:15 p.m. ET (Game 1 of doubleheader)
  • Astros at Athletics, 3:40 p.m. ET
  • Angels at Rangers, 4:05 p.m. ET
  • Tigers at Cardinals, 5:15 p.m. ET (Game 2 of doubleheader)
  • Braves at Nationals, 6:05 p.m. ET
  • Royals at Cleveland, 6:10 p.m. ET
  • Phillies at Marlins, 6:40 p.m. ET
  • Orioles at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. ET
  • Reds at Cubs, 8:15 p.m. ET
  • Giants at Padres, 9:10 p.m. ET

Because more than half the league will qualify for the playoffs this season, there are more games relevant to the postseason races on the schedule than usual this time of year. That’s a good thing! That’s what MLB wants, more teams in the race and more compelling games down the stretch. This daily list will inevitably shrink as teams clinch postseason spots or are eliminated.


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