MLB teams in playoff contention
The GIST: With the MLB regular season finale just two (!!!) weeks away, it’s time to check up on the squads hunting for a spot in the newly expanded postseason field. Batter up!
How it works: Up from 10 in prior years, 12 of MLB’s 30 teams (six from the American League and six from the National League) will make the playoffs this season — the three divisional winners, plus three Wild Cards (WCs). The more the merrier, right?
American League (AL): The Houston
Asterisks Astros locked up their fifth AL West title in the last six years on Monday and the NY Yankees — who boast soon-to-be record-setting slugger Aaron Judge and a five-game lead in the AL East — should be the next to clinch their division.
- But the AL Central is much tighter — the Cleveland Guardians are five games ahead of the Chicago White Sox, and even more interesting, these two contenders are in the midst of a three-game series against each other. That top spot is anyone’s for the taking.
- As for those coveted WCs, the Toronto Blue Jays, Tampa Bay Rays and Seattle Mariners are currently holding it down, but the Baltimore Orioles are still hoping to fly up the standings down the stretch.
National League (NL): Stop us if you heard this one before, but the LA Dodgers are (currently) the best team in baseball — they were the first to clinch their division (NL West) and the first (and so far only) team to reach 100 wins this season.
- The other shining star in the NL? St. Louis Cardinals designated hitter Albert Pujols. His Cards should lock up the NL Central soon as the baseball legend’s quest for 700 career home runs continues.
- The most exciting divisional battle is undoubtedly the NL East, where the NY Mets have clinched a playoff berth but are desperately clinging to a two-game lead over the defending World Series champs, the Atlanta Braves. Cue the trumpets, because we’re in for a show.
- And whichever NL East team doesn’t claim the title would be joined in the WC field by superstar Juan Soto’s San Diego Padres and the Philadelphia Phillies, but not if the Milwaukee Brewers (who are two games back) have anything to say about it.