MLB Playoffs 2020: Playoff Picture, Bracket, Standings Before Season Finales

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistSeptember 27, 2020

Milwaukee Brewers' Ryan Braun, right, scores past St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina after hitting a solo home run during the fourth inning of a baseball game Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

All eyes will be on four teams in the National League during the final day of the 60-game Major League Baseball regular season Sunday.

The St. Louis Cardinals, San Francisco Giants, Milwaukee Brewers and Philadelphia Phillies are the candidates to fill out the playoff field.

One of the two berths will go to St. Louis or Milwaukee as the second-placed team in the NL Central. San Francisco and Philadelphia can only qualify as the second wild-card team.

The eight playoff teams are set in the American League, but their seeding order has yet to be determined.

The Minnesota Twins hold the upper hand on the Oakland Athletics and Chicago White Sox for the No. 2 seed in the AL, but if they fall to the Cincinnati Reds, it could mean another set of changes in the standings before the matchups are set.

                      

Updated Playoff Picture

American League

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

1. Tampa Bay (39-20)

2. Minnesota (36-23)

3. Oakland (35-24)

4. Chicago White Sox (35-24)

5. New York Yankees (33-26)

6. Houston (29-30)

7. Cleveland (34-25)

8. Toronto (32-27)

The Tampa Bay Rays and Houston Astros are the only American League teams that know their playoff seeds.

The Rays will be the No. 1 seed after opening up a three-game advantage on Minnesota. Houston will be the No. 6 seed as the second-placed team in the AL West. If Minnesota defeats Cincinnati at Target Field, it earns the No. 2 seed, which would come with a divisional matchup in the wild-card round.

The Chicago White Sox or the Cleveland Indians can only finish in seventh place. If the White Sox beat the Cubs, the Indians will be the No. 7 seed. If the two teams complete the regular season with the same record, Cleveland would be second in the AL Central based off head-to-head record.

The Twins need to win to avoid a potential drop to No. 4 since the Oakland Athletics and the White Sox own tiebreakers over them. The A's own the easiest matchup of the playoff contenders Sunday at home against the Seattle Mariners. If the Athletics win and Minnesota loses, they would be the No. 2 seed because of their better divisional record than those of the Twins and White Sox.

The White Sox need to beat the Chicago Cubs and receive losses from Minnesota and Oakland to earn a boost up to No. 2.

The other seeding battle features the New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays. The Yankees appeared to be on the fast track for the No. 5 seed, but Toronto has moved to within one game of its AL East rival.

If the Yankees defeat the Miami Marlins at Yankee Stadium, they will be the No. 5 seed and Toronto will remain in eighth. With a win over Baltimore, however, Toronto could move level with the Yankees on divisional record, but that would only matter if the Blue Jays and Yankees finish on the same record.

Were Toronto and New York to finish at 33-27, the Blue Jays would have the edge because of their better record in the past 20 divisional games.

                   

National League

1. Los Angeles Dodgers (42-17)

2. Atlanta (35-24)

3. Chicago Cubs (33-26)

4. San Diego (36-23)

5. St. Louis (29-28)

6. Miami (30-29)

7. Cincinnati (30-29)

8. Milwaukee (29-30)

9. San Francisco (29-30)

10. Philadelphia (28-31)

The top four seeds in the National League are set.

The Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs and San Diego Padres will all play the three-game wild-card series in their respective home parks before heading to the playoff bubble.

None of the four teams are aware of their opponents yet.

If St. Louis beats Milwaukee on Sunday, it lands the No. 5 seed and a matchup with the Padres in the opening round. If Milwaukee defeats the Cardinals, it would secure a postseason position, though its seeding would be determined by the Reds' result in Minnesota and the potential of two make-up games by the Cardinals.

St. Louis is playing its 58th game Sunday. The Cardinals will play a doubleheader Monday against the Detroit Tigers if they lose to Milwaukee and San Francisco beats San Diego.

If the Cardinals clinch a playoff berth Sunday, they will not be required to make up those two games.

A St. Louis win sets up a three-team showdown for the No. 8 seed, which would lean in the Giants' favor since Milwaukee would have lost to the Cardinals. A San Francisco win combined with a Milwaukee loss would place the Giants in the playoffs on regular-season record.

Philadelphia has an outside shot at making the eight-team NL field, but it needs plenty of help and a win over Tampa Bay. The Phillies must beat the Rays and then hope for losses by the Brewers and Giants to put all three teams at 29-31.

If that occurs, the Phillies would get into the postseason based off their superior division record.

                  

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90Playoff information obtained from MLB.com.