MLB Playoff Picture 2022: Wild Card Standings and Bracket Review Entering Last Week
One of the six wild-card spots in the Major League Baseball postseason has been spoken for with one week left in the regular season.
The Atlanta Braves or New York Mets will fill the clinched first wild-card spot in the National League. The two teams square off in a three-game series that begins on Friday. The second-place finisher in the NL East will be the top wild card.
That is the only confirmed piece of the wild-card race as the expanded postseason draws closer.
The Toronto Blue Jays are next in line to clinch a playoff berth. They enter Thursday with a 6.5-game advantage over the Baltimore Orioles.
Toronto is still fighting with the Tampa Bay Rays and Seattle Mariners for positioning, but it can at least confirm its postseason spot with one more win.
The National League wild-card race is down to three teams, but it may be the messiest playoff race left.
The San Diego Padres surged ahead of the Philadelphia Phillies in the last week. The Phillies went 3-7 in their last 10 games to drop to just a half-game ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers.
Milwaukee owns the better schedule on paper compared to Philadelphia, and it looks like the only franchise on the outside of the playoff spots entering Thursday that could earn a spot in the postseason field.
Current Playoff Picture
No. 1 Houston (bye)
No. 2 New York Yankees (bye)
No. 6 Seattle vs. No. 3 Cleveland
No. 5 Tampa Bay vs. No. 4 Toronto
No. 1 Los Angeles Dodgers (bye)
No. 2 New York Mets (bye)
No. 6 Philadelphia vs No. 3 St. Louis
No. 5 San Diego vs. No. 4 Atlanta
AL Wild Card Race
Tampa Bay (85-70)
Toronto, Tampa Bay and Seattle should be the three American League wild-card teams.
The Blue Jays' magic number is down to one, and they can lock up a postseason berth with a win over the Boston Red Sox on Friday, or through a Baltimore Orioles loss in Boston on Thursday.
Baltimore is clinging to its playoff hopes. The Orioles need to win out and have either the Rays or Mariners go on a prolonged losing streak in the final week of the regular season.
The Orioles could still play a role in the wild-card race when they are eliminated. They host the Blue Jays for three games to end the regular season. Those results could affect whether the Blue Jays have home-field advantage in the wild-card round as the No. 4 seed.
Tampa Bay has seven games left on the road. The Rays finish a series in Cleveland on Thursday before heading to Houston and then Boston.
The Rays went 10-9 against the Blue Jays this season, so if the two teams are tied on record, the Rays will be the higher seed.
Seattle went 2-5 against the Rays over two series, so the Mariners need to finish one game above the Rays to be the No. 5 seed.
The Mariners have eight games left, including a Thursday home game against the Texas Rangers. The Oakland Athletics and Detroit Tigers come to Seattle for the Mariners' final seven games.
Seattle could move ahead of Tampa Bay, and even Toronto, during its final homestand, which includes a doubleheader against Detroit on Tuesday that may carry a ton of importance.
NL Wild Card Race
San Diego (86-69)
San Diego, Philadelphia and Milwaukee are fighting for the final two playoff spots in the National League.
Atlanta or the New York Mets will be the No. 4 seed depending on how the NL East race shakes out. New York holds a one-game advantage going into a three-game weekend set in Atlanta.
San Diego's 7-3 run over the last 10 games put it in the driver's seat in the race for the No. 5 seed, which would come with a matchup against the second-place team from the NL East.
The Padres have one more game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday before they play three games against the Chicago White Sox and San Francisco Giants, both of whom have been eliminated from playoff contention.
Milwaukee also finishes the season inside its home ballpark. The Brewers have four games against the Miami Marlins and three versus the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Philadelphia is the only member of the trio that ends the season on the road. The Phillies play the Chicago Cubs on Thursday before travelling to Washington, D.C. and Houston.
The Phillies have the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Brewers, but first, they need to right their recent form. They are 3-7 in their last 10 games and have scored more than three runs in two of their last six contests.