MLB Pennant Races Coming Down to the Wire

MLB Pennant Races Coming Down to the Wire

Before play on Tuesday night, four of the 12 spots in the Major League Baseball postseason have been claimed.

The Atlanta Braves have clinched the National League East, the Los Angeles Dodgers are the champions of the National League West for the 10th time in 11 years, and the Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays are guaranteed at least a wild card spot in the American League.

That still leaves eight places in the playoffs up for grabs, and four division titles still to be decided.

American League Division Races

The Orioles and Rays are in the playoffs, and one of them will be the winner in the A.L. East and the top seed in the American League. The other will finish in second place and will be the fourth seed in the playoffs as the top wild card team.

The Orioles entered play on Tuesday up 2.5-games, and they hold the tiebreaker. has Baltimore at +850 to win the World Series.

The A.L. Central is the worst division in baseball, with only the Minnesota Twins over .500. They have a seven-game lead over the Cleveland Guardians, and their magic number to clinch the division is five games. 

The best division race in baseball is the American League West, with three teams within 1.5 games of each other. The Houston Astros are the leaders on Tuesday. But the Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers are right behind them.

The Astros and Mariners play three games head-to-head next week in Seattle, and the Mariners and Rangers still have seven games remaining against each other. They will play three games in Texas this weekend, and then four in Seattle the final weekend of the season.

National League Central

The East and West have been won, and the Braves and Dodgers are likely to be the top-two seeds in the National League playoffs. The other division winner is favored to be the Milwaukee Brewers, who entered Tuesday with a six-game lead over the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds.

The Brewers and Cubs finish the season with three games in Milwaukee. But the Brewers schedule before that includes six games against the last place St. Louis Cardinals.

American League Wild Card Race

One of the American League’s three wild card spots has already been claimed by the A.L. East. Whichever team doesn’t win the division between the Orioles and Rays will open the postseason October 3 as the fourth seed.

There are three other teams in the running for the final two spots – the Toronto Blue Jays, Seattle Mariners, and Texas Rangers. The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox are still mathematically alive, but in reality, they are done.

The Blue Jays entered play on Tuesday with a one-game lead over the Mariners and Rangers. Toronto still has six tough games against the Rays, and six games against the Yankees. The Jays also lose the tiebreaker to Seattle and Texas. The Rangers own the tiebreaker over the Mariners. is paying -400 on the Blue Jays making the playoffs.

National League Wild Card Race

There are six teams in the National League with realistic shots at the postseason. The Philadelphia Phillies are in the best wild card position, up on the field by four games. The Cubs, Reds, Arizona Diamondbacks, Miami Marlins, and San Francisco Giants are all within 2.5-games of each other.

The Giants have the most challenging schedule remaining, with seven games left against the Dodgers. The Reds have the easiest remaining schedule, with games against the Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Guardians.

2023 MLB Postseason Format

The regular season ends on Sunday, October 1, and the four Wild Card Series will begin two days later on October 3. The top-two seeds in each league will automatically advance to the Division Series, with the other eight teams playing a best-of-three Wild Card Series.

All three games will be played at the higher seed, which will be the third-best division winner and the top wild card team.

The four Division Series are scheduled to begin October 7, the first of the two League Championship Series will begin on October 15, and the World Series is set to begin on October 27, with Game 7 (if necessary) scheduled for November 4.

That means we could get more than a month of betting on postseason baseball.

Author: Paul Campbell