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MLB postseason tracker: Braves clinch NL East crown, who’s next and games to watch


There are still weeks left to go in the 2023 MLB regular season, but a few teams — mainly the red-hot Atlanta Braves — are already looking toward October.

The Braves became the first team to clinch a postseason berth and followed it up by securing the NL East title, and the Baltimore Orioles and Los Angeles Dodgers are on track to follow. Meanwhile, clubs such as the Seattle Mariners, Tampa Bay Rays, Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago Cubs, are battling it out for the remaining wild-card spots.

Beyond division races, there are many storylines to watch as the regular season comes to an end and October begins.

Where do the current playoff matches stand? What games should you be paying attention to today? How can the Braves be the first team to clinch a postseason berth? And what does the playoff schedule look like? We have everything you need to know as the regular season winds down.

Key links: Full MLB standings | Wild-card standings | Best playoff races


Who is in?

Atlanta Braves

With a win over Pittsburgh on Sunday, the Braves became the first team to punch a ticket to this year’s playoffs — their sixth straight postseason berth. Atlanta followed it up by clinching the NL East crown with a victory in Philadelphia on Wednesday.

Who’s next?

Baltimore Orioles

The Orioles can clinch an AL playoff berth as soon as Friday with two wins over the Rays and losses from a couple other teams.


What are this October’s MLB playoff matchups as it stands now?

American League

Wild-card round: (6) Mariners at (3) Twins, (5) Rangers at (4) Rays

ALDS: Twins/Mariners vs. (2) Astros, Rays/Rangers vs. (1) Orioles

National League

Wild-card round: (6) Reds at (3) Brewers, (5) Cubs at (4) Phillies

NLDS: Brewers/Reds vs. (2) Dodgers, Phillies/Cubs vs. (1) Braves


Breaking down the AL race

Despite spending much of the season atop the AL East, the Rays find themselves the top wild-card team in the American League after the Orioles took sole possession of first place in the division in late July. Two other members of the AL East are still in playoff contention, although the Boston Red Sox‘s chances are slowly dwindling. The Toronto Blue Jays, on the other hand, are locked in a close battle for the final wild-card spots.

Their competition? A Texas Rangers team that, like the Rays, led the division for more than 100 days this season but now finds itself fighting for a postseason berth. And the Mariners, who usurped the Rangers atop the AL West but have now fallen behind the Houston Astros in the race for the division title, while the Minnesota Twins look to be a lock as the lone AL Central representative in October.

And what about when these teams get to the playoffs? Here’s what their chances are for every round of the playoffs:


Breaking down the NL race

The divisional races in the National League aren’t quite as close as the ones in the AL, as the Dodgers are on track to join the Braves in clinching a division title. The Milwaukee Brewers have long held first place in the NL Central, but the Cubs are within striking distance.

Now, the wild-card race is where it gets exciting. While the Phillies and Cubs have strong holds on the first two wild-card spots, four teams — the Arizona Diamondbacks, Cincinnati Reds, Miami Marlins and San Francisco Giants — are within a few games of each other for the final spot. Miami and Cincinnati are the big surprises, as neither team was thought to be a playoff contender entering the season.

And what about when these teams get to the playoffs? Here’s what their chances are for every round of the playoffs:


Game of the day

Need something to watch today? Here’s the baseball game with the biggest playoff implications:


Playoff schedule

Wild-card series
Best of three, all games at better seed’s stadium

Game 1: Tuesday, Oct. 3
Game 2: Wednesday, Oct. 4
Game 3: Thursday, Oct. 5*

Division series
Best of five

ALDS
Game 1: Saturday, Oct. 7
Game 2: Sunday, Oct. 8
Game 3: Tuesday Oct. 10
Game 4: Wednesday, Oct. 11*
Game 5: Friday, Oct. 13*

NLDS
Game 1: Saturday, Oct. 7
Game 2: Monday, Oct. 9
Game 3: Wednesday, Oct. 11
Game 4: Thursday, Oct. 12*
Game 5: Saturday, Oct. 14*

League championship series
Best of seven

ALCS
Game 1: Sunday, Oct. 15
Game 2: Monday, Oct. 16
Game 3: Wednesday, Oct. 18
Game 4: Thursday, Oct. 19
Game 5: Friday, Oct. 20*
Game 6: Sunday, Oct. 22*
Game 7: Monday, Oct. 23*

NLCS
Game 1: Monday, Oct. 16
Game 2: Tuesday, Oct. 17
Game 3: Thursday, Oct. 19
Game 4: Friday, Oct. 20
Game 5: Saturday, Oct. 21*
Game 6: Monday, Oct. 23*
Game 7: Tuesday, Oct. 24*

World Series
Best of seven

Game 1: Friday, Oct. 27
Game 2: Saturday, Oct. 28
Game 3: Monday, Oct. 30
Game 4: Tuesday, Oct. 31
Game 5: Wednesday, Nov. 1*
Game 6: Friday, Nov. 3*
Game 7: Saturday, Nov. 4*

* If necessary



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