Now that the 2022 Major League Baseball season is advanced to September, the focus is on the race for the playoff spots. While the stretch we just dipped our toes in might not be the most engrossing we’ve ever seen, there’s still plenty to do.
In terms of divisional races, American League Central is the hottest right now. Currently, only two games separate the top three teams in the division – the Cleveland Guardians, Minnesota Twins and Chicago White Sox – and thanks to the generally disappointing nature of the division, the two teams that fall short probably won’t make it. have a joker spot to fall back on.
Elsewhere, the New York Yankees against strong odds fell apart in a hotly contested American League East run with the Tampa Bay Rays. In the National League, the NL East is the one to watch, as the New York Mets hold a slim lead over the defending champion Atlanta Braves.
On the wildcard front, the Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles look set for a deadly fight for third and final American League spot, and the Rays and Seattle Mariners — occupying the top two spots, respectively — aren’t. are not so sure that they can mitigate the rest of the way. In the senior circuit, it’s basically three teams — the San Diego Padres, Philadelphia Phillies and Milwaukee Brewers — battling for the final two spots. The Brewers are working from behind and have been struggling for some time.
Now let’s move on to the detailed standings, current playoff games and playoff odds, and also remember that the playoff structure is different from this year.
The new 12-team playoff format
During the recent negotiation of the new collective agreement, players and owners agreed to a new, expanded post-season structure moving forward. This new structure begins with the current season, and here’s a reminder of how it works.
- The playoff field is expanding from 10 teams to 12 teams with the addition of one extra wild-card entrant in each league.
- The Wild Card Game has been replaced by the best of three Wild Card Series, which functions as the first round of play. The highest seed in each Wild Card Series will host all games in that series, be it two or up to three games.
- The top two division winners in each league, determined by best overall regular season record, earn a first-round bye. This means that they go directly to the best of five division series which functions as the second round.
- The four wild-card round entrants in each league include the division winner with the worst record among division winners and the three non-division winners with the best records. This division winner is automatically the No. 3 seed, regardless of whether any or all of the other wildcard teams have a better record.
- To recap, here’s how playoff seeding will work in each league – No. 1 seed (goodbye to LDS): best league record; 2 seed (goodbye to LDS): second-best record among division winners; Seeded No. 3: third-best record among division winners; Seeded No. 4: Best record among wild-card teams; Seeded No. 5: second-best record among wild-card teams; Seeded No. 6: Third-best record among wild-card teams.
The League Championship Series and World Series remain the best of the seven series, with home advantage going to the team with the best record in each series. Note that there is no reseeding after any turn.
I understood? Now, here’s where things stand right now when it comes to racing for those spots and seeds.
If the season ended today…
- Byes: No. 1 Astros, No. 2 Yankees
- Wild Card Series: #4 Rays vs. #5 Sailors
- Wild Card Series: No. 3 Guardians vs. No. 6 Blue Jays
- Byes: No. 1 Dodgers, No. 2 Mets
- Wild Card Series: No. 4 Braves vs. No. 5 Padres
- Wild Card Series: No. 3 Cardinals vs. No. 6 Phillies
(Post-season projections are from SportsLine; expanded standings can be viewed here)