The Race to the MLB Playoffs is Getting Wild

The hunt for October is still on, and it's going to be a wild race to the finish. A handful of teams have already clinched, while others have a series of vital matchups ahead that will see them into the postseason ... or home until spring training.

Let's break down all the ways that things could go:

Who's In and Who's Out

As of Thursday, September 19, three teams have secured their spot in the playoffs:

● Los Angeles Dodgers, NL West
● Atlanta Braves, postseason berth, NL
● Houston Astros, postseason berth, AL

The unlucky NL teams already out of the running are:

● Miami Marlins
● Colorado Rockies
● Pittsburgh Pirates
● Cincinnati Reds
● San Diego Padres

And in the AL, don't expect to see the:

● Los Angeles Angels
● Toronto Blue Jays
● Seattle Mariners
● Baltimore Orioles
● Texas Rangers
● Boston Red Sox
● Kansas City Royals
● Detroit Tigers
● Chicago White Sox

Which Leaves Us With...

The Dodgers, Braves and Astros have already made the cut. Still waiting for confirmation are the:

● St. Louis Cardinals, NL
● Washington Nationals, NL
● Chicago Cubs, NL
● Milwaukee Brewers, NL
● New York Mets, NL
● Philadelphia Phillies, NL
● Arizona Diamondbacks, NL
● New York Yankees, AL
● Minnesota Twins, AL
● Oakland Athletics, AL
● Tampa Bay Rays, AL
● Cleveland Indians, AL

Each one of those teams has a different road to making the playoffs, some much more feasible than others.

The (Apparent) Shoe-Ins

Of the aforementioned teams, only a handful lead their divisions. If they hold on, they'll make the playoffs.

First on the list, the St. Louis Cardinals lead the NL Central. The Braves are ahead in the NL East, and the Dodgers have clinched the NL West.

In the AL, the Twins stand atop the Central division, while the Yankees lead in the East and the Astros have earned a playoff berth in the West.

Each league has two wild card positions to hand out, too, and that's where the rest of the listed teams come in — they have a shot to make it in that way.

The Wild Cards

As of now, the four teams slated to make the playoffs via the wildcard spots are the:

● Oakland Athletics, AL
● Tampa Bay Rays, AL
● Washington Nationals, NL
● Milwaukee Brewers, NL

But many of these teams have challengers on their heels and important matchups in the final weeks of the season. For instance, the Rays have a tough series of games and the Cleveland Indians a game behind. Ahead of the postseason, they'll play the Yankees in a series that could be a preview of this year's ALDS. So far this season, the Yankees have taken the Rays 12-5 in all of their meetings. The Bronx Bombers do boast a stronger offense, so it makes sense.

The Cubs are currently tied with the Brewers, making their upcoming set against the Cardinals an important one, too. Should the Cubs have a successful run against their division rivals, they wouldn't just get the playoff berth — they could snatch the division title, too.

Another game to watch is the Washington Nationals vs. the Cleveland Indians. The Nationals could also take the title away from the Cardinals. But the Indians have a vested interest in taking this series, too, since they're a game shy of knocking the Rays from a wild card spot.

What's Next?

A few other teams remain in the running, depending on what happens in the rest of this season's matchups. That's the beauty of baseball, though — we never know until they clinch. So, we're in for a wild ride now and in October. Who are you rooting for this year? We're just excited for some killer matchups to bring the 2020 season to a close.

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