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MLB Playoffs 2019: Playoff Picture, Bracket, Standings Before Season Finales

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistSeptember 29, 2019

St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Jack Flaherty delivers during the first inning of a baseball game against Chicago Cubs the Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)
Matt Marton/Associated Press

Five divisions and the American League wild card are settled. On the final day of the 2019 MLB regular season, all eyes will be on the National League Central.

Similar to 2018, the division might require a playoff game to determine the winner. Although the loser would be guaranteed a place in the wild-card game against the Washington Nationals, the preferred spot is a five-game series with the Atlanta Braves.

But will the St. Louis Cardinals, who hold a one-game advantage, or the Milwaukee Brewers claim the division?

Everything else is decided, though.

Saturday, the Houston Astros wrapped up home-field advantage through the World Series, and the Oakland A's ensured they would host the Tampa Bay Rays for the AL wild-card game. Sunday's only contests with playoff relevance involve St. Louis and Milwaukee.

                        

MLB Playoff Picture

American League

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1. Houston Astros (106-55, West champions)

2. New York Yankees (103-58, East champions)

3. Minnesota Twins (101-60, Central champions)

WC1. Oakland Athletics (97-64)

WC2. Tampa Bay Rays (96-65)

Note: Every AL playoff position is official.

                 

National League

1. Los Angeles Dodgers (105-56, West champions)

2. Atlanta Braves (97-64, East champions)

3*. St. Louis Cardinals (90-71)

WC1. Washington Nationals (92-69)

WC2*. Milwaukee Brewers (89-72)

Note: *signifies unofficial playoff position.

               

Sunday Scenario

NL Central (and Wild Card)

After sweeping the rival Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field earlier in September, the Cardinals knew they would be headed to the postseason. However, their performance has dipped substantially lately.

Saturday, the team dropped its fourth straight game in an 8-6 defeat to Chicago. The Cards nearly rallied from a 6-0 deficit, but the Cubs tacked on a couple of late runs before Paul DeJong launched an eighth-inning homer.

Fortunately for St. Louis, the Brewers failed to take advantage for the second consecutive night.

Colorado Rockies @Rockies

🚨 Spoiler Alert 🚨 This Story is AMAZING! #RoxWALKOFF 🖐 https://t.co/aqZz8CooTO

Shortly before Trevor Story's walk-off blast, rookie Sam Hilliard hit a ninth-inning, game-tying homer off of Brewers closer Josh Hader. Milwaukee wasted a chance to pull even in the standings and, at worst, force a Game 163 if both teams win Sunday.

Instead, the Brewers will be hoping for further assistance from the shorthanded Cubs. That may be difficult because Jack Flaherty, who limited Chicago to one run in eight innings during the aforementioned sweep, will take the mound for the Cardinals.

With a win, St. Louis secures the NL Central.

Should the Cards fall, though, Milwaukee simply needs a win over Colorado to force a playoff game. That tiebreaker would be played Monday in St. Louis. Otherwise, the Brewers will travel to Washington for the NL wild-card game Tuesday.

Adrian Houser will start for the Crew on Sunday. He has surrendered 12 runs (all earned) in 20.1 innings in September.

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