The Landscape Of Major League Baseball In Final Week Of Regular Season

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The 2020 MLB season has flown by. Two months. Just two months is all it has taken to go from the start of the season to the playoffs. Teams have not had the luxury of enduring losing streaks, injuries or slumps to key individuals. Every game mattered, and the teams that were most consistent over the two month span have put themselves in the best position entering the postseason.

If The Season Ended Today – American League

If the MLB regular season ended today, here is how the playoff matchups would be set up for the best-of-three Wildcard Series in the American League.

No. 1 Rays v. No. 8 Blue Jays
No. 2 A’s v. No. 7 Indians
No. 3 Twins v. No. 6 Astros
No. 4 White Sox v. No. 5 Yankees

Looking at the American League, there is still some room for movement within the top 8 teams, but it is almost certain these will be the 8 teams in the playoffs. The Angels trail the Blue Jays for the 8th seed by 3.5 games with 4 games to go. It would take a full collapse for the Jays not to get in. Minnesota and Chicago are still battling it out for the division crown that likely will go down to the final day of the season.

The Yankees have aspirations of owning a better record than either of those two teams to gain the 4th seed in the playoffs. They will need to close out the season strongly and hope that one of the teams slip. The difference between the 4th seed and 5th seed is a home series, so there is a lot on the line. The Rays and A’s have clinched their respective divisions. Tampa is essentially locked into the #1 seed in the AL, while Oakland can fall as low as #3, depending on how they finish. Houston is locked into the 6th seed, and Toronto into the 8th seed. Cleveland has an outside chance at the division or 2nd place which could move them up to 3, 4 or 5 from their current 7th spot.

If The Season Ended Today – National League

If the MLB regular season ended today, here is how the playoff matchups would be set up for the best-of-three Wildcard Series in the National League.

No. 1 Dodgers v. No. 8 Reds
No. 2 Braves v. No. 7 Giants
No. 3 Cubs v. No. 6 Marlins
No. 4 Padres v. No. 5 Cardinals

The Dodgers have been far and away the best team in baseball during the shortened regular season. Their lineup coupled with quality starting pitching has them in pole position in the National League. While the number 1 seed has already been clinched, there is still a possibility the Braves and Cubs could flip flop between 2 and 3, depending on how each finishes the season. The Padres have been among the best stories in baseball this year. They have the 2nd best record in the NL, but will be the 4th seed because they share a division with Los Angeles.

The rest of the NL playoff picture gets interesting. The once COVID-19 plagued Cardinals own the 5th seed in the NL Central. And the once COVID-19 plagued Miami Marlins also look to be playoff bound as they own the 2nd spot in the NL East. San Francisco, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, and Milwaukee are all in the mix for a postseason berth. In fact, just a half game separates the Cardinals and Reds while only one game separates the Phillies, Marlins, and Giants. The battle for the final 8 will come down to the final day of the regular season, with any of these 6 teams capable of claiming the final four spots.

As the final games of the 2020 regular season come to an end, we will breakdown the whole playoff picture next week, ahead of the 2020 postseason.

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