The sprint that is the 60-game Major League Baseball regular season comes to a conclusion Sunday.
One of the many unique aspects of the shortened season is the expanded playoff field that places eight teams from each league into the postseason.
Five American League franchises and two from the National League are already locked into the field entering Monday, and a few more will clinch during the week based off their divisional positions.
The most intrigue will come in the wild-card races, where two teams outside the top two spots in their divisions will earn the No. 7 and No. 8 seeds. The National League wild-card race is setting up to be the more competitive of the two, with four teams separated by one game in the win column.
World Series Odds
Los Angeles Dodgers: +350 (bet $100 to win $350)
New York Yankees: +650
Tampa Bay: +650
Chicago White Sox: +1000
San Diego: +1000
Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.
Standings as of Monday, September 21
No. 1 Tampa Bay vs. No. 8 Toronto
No. 2 Chicago White Sox vs. No. 7 Cleveland
No. 3 Oakland vs. No. 6 Houston
No. 4 Minnesota vs. No. 5 New York Yankees
No. 1 Los Angeles Dodgers vs. No. 8 Cincinnati
No. 2 Chicago Cubs vs, No. 7 Philadelphia
No. 3 Atlanta vs. No. 6 St. Louis
No. 4 San Diego vs. No. 5 Miami
Los Angeles Angels (23-31)
Cleveland and the Toronto Blue Jays could have the pair of wild-card positions secured before their final series of the season. The two teams have gained enough separation from the Seattle Mariners and the Los Angeles Angels to play with some comfort in the final week of the regular season.
It feels fitting that the two AL wild-card teams are going to come from the the two toughest divisions in the league. Cleveland tried to keep pace with the Chicago White Sox and the Minnesota Twins in the AL Central but fell off just a bit, while Toronto made a run at the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays.
Before the Yankees got hot over the past week, there was a scenario in which they would be fighting for the No. 7 or No. 8 seed in the final six or seven games. Toronto faces the Yankees in the middle of the week, which is the only positive for the Mariners and Angels in their last-second runs at the wild-card spots.
The pair of AL West teams are not officially out of the mix, but a lot has to go in their favor for them to qualify by Sunday.
San Francisco (26-26)
New York Mets (24-29)
The majority of the wild-card drama will happen in the National League.
Any one of the six contenders within four games of each other could finish Sunday in playoff positions.
The Cincinnati Reds and Milwaukee Brewers will have a direct battle for positioning over the next few days at Great American Ball Park.
Monday's NL Central showdown pits Brandon Woodruff against Luis Castillo on the mound in a battle of two of the best hurlers the league has to offer. Brett Anderson and Sonny Gray will square off Tuesday in the second game of what could feel like an elimination series in the wild-card hunt if the result swings heavily in one team's favor.
The Reds may have the advantage in that matchup since they are 8-2 in their past 10 games compared to Milwaukee's 6-4 mark. But if there is one player who can turn around .500 form, it is Woodruff, who has been fantastic throughout the shortened season for the Brewers.
The San Francisco Giants and Colorado Rockies will be locked in their own duel in the NL West starting Monday. Colorado will send German Marquez to the mound to face Johnny Cueto at Oracle Park.
The Rockies have struggled to keep pace with the rest of the wild-card hopefuls, as they are 3-7 in their past 10 games. However, if they sweep the Giants and the Reds and Brewers split games, the Rockies could be in the mix over the weekend.
The Philadelphia Phillies appear like they could be the biggest winners of the wild-card teams since they face the Washington Nationals while four of the teams beneath them play head-to-head.
If the Phillies sweep the Nationals, they could feel some comfort going into the weekend series with Tampa Bay at Tropicana Field.