Much at Stake as MLB Heads into Final Day of Regular Season

Milwaukee (OnFocus) – The Milwaukee Brewers picked up a huge win on Saturday, vaulting the Crew into the final spot for the Major League Baseball Playoffs. With just one day left, there is much to be decided throughout baseball.

Courtesy of MLB.com, here is what’s at stake:

Here is what the playoff picture looks like heading into today.

Reminder: Major League Baseball announced an expanded postseason format in 2020, which will include eight teams in each league. The top two teams in each division qualify, and the two teams with the next-best records in each league make it as Wild Cards. All ties will be resolved mathematically, without tiebreaker games. For full details on the 2020 postseason format, read here.

Wild Card Series (begin Tuesday)
Best-of-three format, with higher seed serving as the home team for all three games

AL matchups
No. 8 Blue Jays vs. No. 1 Rays*
No. 7 Indians vs. No. 2 Twins
No. 6 Astros* vs. No. 3 A’s
No. 5 Yankees vs. No. 4 White Sox

*Seed locked-in

NL matchups
No. 8 Brewers vs. No. 1 Dodgers*
No. 7 Reds vs. No. 2 Braves*
No. 6 Marlins vs. No. 3 Cubs*
No. 5 Cardinals vs. No. 4 Padres*

*Seed locked-in

• 2020 Postseason schedule

WHO HAS CLINCHED: The A’s became the first team to clinch a division title on Monday, followed by the Braves and Dodgers on Tuesday, the Rays on Wednesday and the Cubs on Saturday. Other teams to lock up postseason berths are the Astros, Reds, Marlins, Blue Jays, White Sox, Twins, Yankees, Padres and Indians.

WHO IS NEXT: The Brewers can clinch a postseason berth with a victory over the Cardinals. The Cardinals can clinch a postseason berth with a win over the Brewers. The Giants can clinch the No. 8 seed in the NL with a win over the Padres and a loss by the Brewers. The Phillies can claim the No. 8 seed with a win over the Rays and losses by the Giants and Brewers.

Here is a look at where each remaining contender — defined as either having clinched a playoff spot or is still alive — stands heading into the final day of the regular season. Teams are listed by division and then in order of standing.

HOW DO TIEBREAKERS WORK: Tiebreakers are different in 2020 than in previous seasons. For details on this year’s rules, read this. And for the latest on where each team currently stands, read the Key Tiebreakers sections below.

HERE’S A LOOK AT SEEDING SCENARIOS:

In the AL, the eight teams are set but only two (TB and HOU) have clinched seeds:

1 = TB

2/3 = MIN, CWS or OAK

4 = MIN, CWS or CLE

5 = NYY or TOR

6 = HOU

7 = CWS or CLE

8 = NYY or TOR

In the NL, only 6 teams have clinched but the top four have clinched seeds:

1 = LAD

2 = ATL

3 = CHC

4 = SD

5/6 = STL, CIN or MIA

7/8 = STL, CIN, MIL, SF or PHI

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

Rays (39-20, .661)
Where they stand: The Rays have clinched the AL East title and No. 1 seed in AL playoffs.

Yankees (33-26, .559)
Yesterday’s result: Won 11-4 vs. Marlins
Where they stand: The Yankees are one game ahead of the Blue Jays for the division’s No. 2 playoff berth and hold the AL’s fifth seed.
Key tiebreakers: The Yankees and Blue Jays split the season series, 5-5. The Yankees currently hold the tiebreaker with a better record vs. the AL East (23-17 to Toronto’s 22-17, though the Blue Jays have one games vs. Orioles remaining).
Today’s schedule: vs. Marlins, 3:05 p.m. ET

Blue Jays (32-27, .542)
Yesterday’s result: Won 5-2 vs. Orioles
Where they stand: The Blue Jays are one game behind the Yankees for the division’s No. 2 playoff berth. They currently hold the No. 8 seed in the AL.
Key tiebreakers: The Yankees and Blue Jays split the season series, 5-5. The Yankees currently hold the tiebreaker with a better record vs. the AL East (23-17 to Toronto’s 22-17, though the Blue Jays have one game vs. Orioles remaining).
Today’s schedule: vs. Orioles, 3:07 p.m. ET

AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL

Twins (36-23, .610)
Yesterday’s result: Won 7-3 vs. Reds
Where they stand: The Twins lead the White Sox by one game for first place in the AL Central, and are also one game ahead of the A’s for the AL’s No. 2 seed. They have clinched home field for the Wild Card series.
Key tiebreakers: If the Twins tie with the White Sox, the White Sox hold the tiebreaker — the Twins split their season series against Chicago, but the Sox have a better intradivision record. For AL seeding, the A’s hold the tiebreaker over the Twins with a better intradivision record (25-12 to Minnesota’s 23-17).
Today’s schedule: vs. Reds, 3:10 p.m. ET

White Sox (35-24, .593)
Yesterday’s result: Won 9-5 vs. Cubs
Where they stand: The White Sox are one game ahead of the Indians for the second guaranteed playoff spot in the AL Central, and one game behind the Twins for first place in the division. They currently hold the fourth seed in the AL.
Key tiebreakers: The White Sox hold the tiebreaker over the Twins — they split their season series, 5-5, but Chicago has the better intradivision record (25-15 vs. AL Central, while Minnesota is 23-17). But if the Sox tie with the Indians, Cleveland holds the tiebreaker (8-2 head-to-head against Chicago).
Today’s schedule: vs. CHC, 3:10 p.m. ET

Indians (34-25, .576)
Yesterday’s result: Lost 8-0 vs. Pirates
Where they stand: The Indians are one game behind the White Sox for the second guaranteed playoff spot in the AL Central. They currently hold the seventh seed in the AL.
Key tiebreakers: Cleveland went 8-2 vs. the White Sox, giving the Tribe the tiebreaker.
Today’s schedule: vs. Pirates, 3:10 p.m. ET

AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST

Athletics (35-24, .593)
Yesterday’s result: Swept in doubleheader vs. Mariners — Lost 5-1 in Game 1lost 12-3 in Game 2
Where they stand: The A’s have clinched the AL West and currently hold the No. 3 seed in the AL.
Key tiebreakers: For seeding, the A’s currently hold the tiebreaker over the Twins and White Sox due to a better division record than Minnesota (23-17) and Chicago (25-15).
Today’s schedule: vs. Mariners, 3:10 p.m. ET

Astros (29-30, .492)
Where they stand: The Astros have clinched a postseason berth and the No. 6 seed in the AL.

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

Braves (35-24, .593)
Where they stand: The Braves have clinched the NL East and the league’s No. 2 seed.

Marlins (30-29, .508)
Yesterday’s result: Lost 11-4 vs. Yankees
Where they stand: The Marlins have clinched the second guaranteed postseason berth from the NL East.
Key tiebreakers: Fifth-seeded St. Louis owns the tiebreaker over Miami by virtue of a better intradivision record (21-17 to 21-19).
Today’s schedule: at Yankees, 3:05 p.m. ET

Phillies (28-31, .475)
Yesterday’s result: Lost 4-3 vs. Rays
Where they stand: The Phillies are one game behind the Brewers for the NL’s No. 8 postseason seed, with the Giants also ahead of them.
Key tiebreakers: Philadelphia owns the tiebreaker over San Francisco and Milwaukee by virtue of a better intradivision record. If the Phillies get into a three-way tiebreaker scenario with those teams, Philadelphia would win the tiebreaker with the best intradivision record (21-19).
Today’s schedule: at Rays, 3:10 p.m. ET

NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL

Cubs (33-26, .559)
Where they stand: The Cubs have won the NL Central and are locked into the No. 3 seed in the NL.

Cardinals (29-28, .509)
Yesterday’s result: Lost 3-0 vs. Brewers
Where they stand: St. Louis currently holds the No. 5 seed in the NL, and are percentage points ahead of the Reds for second place in the NL Central, one game ahead of the Brewers. One thing to keep in mind: Because of the extensive postponements the Cardinals had in August due to COVID-19, they are currently scheduled for 58 games. If either of those two additional postponed games, both against Detroit, end up needing to be made up to settle home-field advantage or who is in or out, they would be played on Monday. They will not be made up if the only thing left to settle is seeding that has no impact on home-field.
Key tiebreakers: The Cardinals won their season series against the Reds, 6-4, and a win over Milwaukee today would clinch a postseason berth.
Today’s schedule: vs. MIL, 3:15 p.m. ET

Reds (30-29, .508)
Yesterday’s result: Lost 7-3 vs. Twins
Where they stand: The Reds have clinched a postseason berth and are percentage points behind the Cardinals for the NL Central’s second guaranteed playoff spot. The Brewers are one game behind St. Louis and Cincinnati in the division. Cincinnati currently occupies the No. 7 seed in the NL.
Key tiebreakers: St. Louis holds the tiebreaker with Cincinnati after winning the season series, 6-4. And the Reds hold the tiebreaker over the Brewers, winning that season series 6-4.
Today’s schedule: at Twins, 3:10 p.m. ET

Brewers (29-30, .492)
Yesterday’s result: Won 3-0 vs. Cardinals
Where they stand: The Brewers currently occupy the eighth and final playoff spot in the NL.
Key tiebreakers: Milwaukee leads the season series against St. Louis, 5-4, and a win today against the Cardinals would clinch a postseason spot, but the Brewers’ seeding would depend on whether the Reds won or lost their game against the Twins, as well as any potential games played by the Cardinals on Monday.
Today’s schedule: at Cardinals, 3:15 p.m. ET

NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST

Dodgers (42-17, .712)
Where they stand: The Dodgers have clinched the NL West title, the No. 1 NL playoff seed and home-field advantage through the World Series.

Padres (36-23, .610)
Yesterday’s result: Won 6-2 vs. Giants
Where they stand: The Padres have clinched the NL’s No. 4 seed, and therefore home field in the Wild Card Series.
Today’s schedule: at Giants, 3:05 p.m. ET

Giants (29-30, .492)
Yesterday’s result: Lost 6-2 vs. Padres
Where they stand: The Giants are currently on the outside looking in with one game to play, owning the same record as the Brewers but not having the tiebreaker over Milwaukee for the eighth seed. San Francisco is one game ahead of the Phillies.
Key tiebreakers: Both the Brewers and Phillies own a tiebreaker over the Giants with better intradivision records than San Francisco should the clubs finish with the same overall record. So if there is a three-way tie between the teams, the Giants would miss the playoffs.
Today’s schedule: vs. Padres, 3:05 p.m. ET

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David Keech
Author: David Keech

David Keech is a math teacher in Wisconsin Rapids and public address announcer for Abbotsord High School. He officiates basketball, baseball, and softball in central Wisconsin. He has reported on amateur sports since 2011, known as 'KeechDaVoice.' David can be reached at [email protected]