MLB playoff picture: What's at stake heading into final stretch of the season

·2 min read

The 2021 Major League Baseball campaign is in the final stretch of the regular season with the playoff field beginning to take form.

The divisional races have all but been wrapped up except for the National League East and West, where the two best teams in baseball – the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers – battle for the top spot.

The postseason setup returns to the 10-team format after 16 teams were allowed after the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. Seeds 1-3 go to the division winners, in order of record. Seeds 4-5 go to the wild card winners with the two best remaining records.

Here's a look at the current playoff picture, starting with the teams that have already booked their postseason tickets as of Sept. 22.

Who has clinched a playoff spot

Giants, Dodgers, Brewers, Rays.

Who is next

The White Sox can clinch the AL Central with a win over the Indians on Thursday.

Division leaders

American League: Rays, White Sox, Astros

National League: Braves, Brewers, Giants

The Giants celebrate on the field after a victory.
The Giants celebrate on the field after a victory.

If the season ended today

AL Wild Card Game: Red Sox vs. Blue Jays (Oct. 5)

NL Wild Card Game: Dodgers vs. Cardinals (Oct. 6)

ALDS: Astros vs. White Sox (Oct. 7)

ALDS: Rays vs. wild card game winner (Oct. 7)

NLDS: Brewers vs. Braves (Oct. 8)

NLDS: Giants vs. wild card game winner (Oct. 8)

AL wild card race

  1. Red Sox (88-65) +2 (96.1% chance of making playoffs, per ESPN)

  2. Yankees (86-67) -- (49.3%)

  3. Blue Jays (85-67) 0.5 (51.7%)

  4. Mariners (83-69) 2.5 (2.1%)

  5. Athletics (82-70) 3.5 (0.6%)

NL wild card race

  1. Dodgers* (97-55) +14.5 (100%)

  2. Cardinals (82-69) -- (94.3%)

  3. Reds (78-74) 4.5 (3.3%)

  4. Phillies (78-74) 4.5 (16.5%)

  5. Padres (76-75) 6.0 (0.3%)

*Clinched a playoff berth

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: MLB standings, playoffs: What's at stake heading into final stretch