Playoff Image, Magic Number, More Explained

By | September 19, 2023

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The Major League Baseball playoff scenarios are crystallizing a little more by the day.

With the American and National League wild-card races beginning Oct. 3 and the top two league winners awaiting Division Series play beginning Oct. 7, the jockeying for position could come down to the final Sunday of the regular season.

For now, the Orioles, Rays, Braves and Dodgers have earned their postseason trips – the last two as NL division winners and likely first-place finishers.

With the division and wild card ramifications changing by the day — or sometimes by the hour — USA TODAY Sports breaks down each race and what each club needs to do to cement their postseason status:

(Updated through September 18th games)

Postseason photo: If the playoffs started today

AL wildcard series, starting October 3-5 (best of three, all top seed)

  • Texas Rangers vs. Minnesota Twins
  • Toronto Blue Jays vs Tampa Bay Rays

ALDS, October 7-13

  • Rangers-Twins winner over second-place Houston Astros
  • Blue Jays-Rays Winner at No. 1 Baltimore Orioles

NL Wildcard Series, October 3-5

  • Chicago Cubs at Milwaukee Brewers
  • Arizona Diamondbacks vs Philadelphia Phillies

NLDS, October 7-14:

  • Cubs-Brewers Winner at Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Diamondbacks-Phillies Winner at No. 1 Atlanta Braves

AL East standings, magic numbers (through September 18 games)

  1. Orioles 94-56
  2. Rays 92-59, 2.5 games ago

Tiebreaker: Orioles

Orioles Magic Number:9

Rays Remaining Schedule: vs. Blue Jays (3), Red Sox (2), Blue Jays (3)

Orioles Remaining Schedule: at Astros (2), at Guardians (4), vs. Nationals (2), vs. Red Sox (4)

AL Central standings, magic number

  1. Gemini 79-72
  2. Guardians 72-79, 7GB

Tiebreaker: Guardians

Twins magic number:5

Twins Remaining Timeline: in Reds (2), vs. Angels (3), vs. Athletics (3), at Rockies (3)

Remaining Guardians Schedule: in Royals (2), vs. Orioles (4), vs. Reds (2), at Tigers (3)

AL Oeste Race

  1. Astros 84-67
  2. Sailors 82-68, 1.5 GB
  3. Rangers 82-68, 1.5GB

Tiebreakers: Astros over Rangers; Sailors over Astros; Rangers (main season series 5-1) over Mariners

Magic number of the stars: 11

Astros Remaining Schedule: vs. Orioles (2), vs. Royals (3), at Mariners (3), at Diamondbacks (3)

Mariners Remaining Schedule: at A’s (2), at Rangers (3), vs. Astros (3), vs. Rangers (4)

Rangers Remaining Schedule: vs. Red Sox (2), vs. Mariners (3), at Angels (3), at Mariners (4)

AL wild card classification

  1. Spokes 92-59*
  2. Blue Jays 83-67
  3. Sailors 82-68
  4. Rangers 82-68

Tiebreakers: Rangers over Blue Jays, Mariners (.419-.375 divisional winning percentage) over Blue Jays, Rangers (5-1 season series leader) over Mariners

Blue Jays Remaining Schedule: at Yankees (3), at Rays (3), vs.

NL Central Standings

  1. Brewers 84-66
  2. Puppies 78-72, 6GB
  3. Reds 79-73, 6 GB

Tiebreakers: Cubs-Brewers tied, 5-5; Brewers instead of reds; Reds over Cubs

Brewers’ magic number:7

Brewers Remaining Schedule: at Cardinals (3), at Marlins (3), vs. Cardinals (3), vs.

Cubs Remaining Schedule: vs. Pirates (3), vs. Rockies (3), at Braves (3), at Brewers (3)

Reds remaining schedule: vs. Twins (2), vs. Pirates (3), on Guardians (2), on Cardinals (3)

NL Wildcard Standings

  1. Philadelphia 82-68
  2. Diamonds 79-72
  3. Puppies 78-72
  4. Reds 79-73, 0 GB
  5. Marlins 78-73, 0.5GB
  6. Giants 76-74, 2GB

Tiebreakers: Diamondbacks over Cubs, Reds over Diamondbacks, Marlins over Diamondbacks, Reds over Cubs, Marlins over Cubs, Cubs over Giants, Marlins over Reds, Giants over Reds, Giants (.575 divisional) over Marlins (.511)

Diamondbacks Remaining Schedule: vs. Giants (2), Yankees (3), White Sox (3), vs.

Marlins Remaining Schedule: vs. Mets (2), vs. Brewers (3), at Mets (3), at Pirates (3)

Giants Remaining Schedule: at Diamondbacks (2), at Dodgers (4), vs. Fathers (3), vs.

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