Major League Baseball's 2022 regular season will end in a little over a week on Oct. 5, so it's about time to get to know the playoff picture in depth.
This is the part where everyone should take a deep breath, because suffice it to say, there's a heck of a lot that still needs to be determined.
We're going to run through every bit of need-to-know information, including which of the 12 playoff spots—remember, this is the first year of MLB's expanded postseason format—in the American League and National League have already been clinched, which are still available and the outlooks for teams that haven't yet been eliminated from contention.
To jazz things up, we'll also present our wish lists for series in the AL and NL playoffs and, naturally, the World Series.
The Situation in the American League
How the AL Playoff Picture Looks Right Now
- First-Round Byes: Houston Astros (1)* and New York Yankees (2)^
- Wild Card Series 1: Tampa Bay Rays (5) at Toronto Blue Jays (4)
- Wild Card Series 2: Seattle Mariners (6) at Cleveland Guardians (3)*
- Division Series 1: Rays/Blue Jays vs. Astros
- Division Series 2: Mariners/Guardians vs. Yankees
- *Astros clinched AL West, Guardians clinched AL Central
- ^Yankees clinched playoff spot
What's Still Up for Grabs?
No. 1 Seed: Astros (101-53) lead Yankees (94-59) by 6.5 G
The No. 1 seed and, with it, home-field advantage throughout the AL playoffs is the Astros' to lose. They're 21 games over .500 since the Yankees began a 33-36 backslide on July 9.
AL East Title: Yankees lead Blue Jays (87-67) by 7.5 G
The Yankees could have ended the division race Monday in Toronto, but the Blue Jays eked out a win in extras to fight another day. Yet with the Yankees' magic number still at two, the Jays have little margin for error.
- Blue Jays (87-67): +3 G
- Rays (84-69): +0.5 G
- Mariners (83-69): +0 G
- Baltimore Orioles (80-73): 3.5 GB
- Chicago White Sox (76-77): 7.5 GB
- Minnesota Twins (74-79): 9.5 GB
Whereas the Blue Jays are 17-8 in September, Tampa Bay is in a 6-11 funk and Seattle is in a 3-7 skid. The Mariners are also dealing with some ill-timed injuries to Rookie of the Year favorite Julio Rodríguez (back) and slugger Eugenio Suárez (finger).
On the plus side for Seattle, its remaining schedule will have it punching further below its weight than any other contender in the AL: