The MLB Postseason is all but in our faces right now as we're in the heart of the last week of the regular season. Most teams have just 1.5 series left before they know their playoff fates, meaning the pressure is ramped up. And there were plenty of big games on Tuesday, some of which were played, others that weren't.
While the Chicago Cubs blew a 6-0 lead to the Braves in Atlanta to drop a game, they did not lose their current wild card spot in the playoffs. That's because the Miami Marlins, a surging team hot on their heels, had their game against the New York Mets postponed on Tuesday night. They can make up serious ground in a doubleheader on Wednesday, though.
Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Phillies secured their spot in the MLB Postseason on Tuesday with a 3-2 victory in extra innings over the Pirates. They'll almost surely be the top-seeded wild card team in the National League, though the NL East race was lost long ago.
Beyond that, the Orioles moved one step closer to clinching the top seed in the American League overall for the playoffs. With a tight 1-0 win over the Nationals, they staved off the Rays, who also picked up a win over the Red Sox in a barn-burner, 9-7.
So what does the MLB Playoff Picture look like after Tuesday night's action? Let's take a look as to where things stand and what the MLB Postseason bracket would look like if the season ended today.
Note: This bracket was constructed prior to the conclusion of Tuesday's Astros-Mariners game.
MLB Playoff Picture: Postseason bracket if season ended today
American League Wild Card Series (Begins on Oct. 3)
- 6 Houston Astros at 3 Minnesota Twins
- 5 Toronto Blue Jays at 4 Tampa Bay Rays
- Byes: 1 Baltimore Orioles, 2 Texas Rangers
In the new playoff format, the wild card series will be best-of-three with every game taking place at the higher seed, which the Twins and Rays are essentially locked into, assuming Tampa Bay doesn't overtake the Orioles, which seems unlikely given their race against time at this point.
National League Wild Card Series (Begins on Oct. 3)
- 6 Chicago Cubs at 3 Milwaukee Brewers
- 5 Arizona Diamondbacks at 4 Philadelphia Phillies
- Byes: 1 Atlanta Braves, 2 Los Angeles Dodgers
Perhaps the least-settled race as we near the beginning of the MLB Postseason, the Cubs dropped a game to the Braves on Tuesday night. With the Marlins-Mets tilt being postponed, Chicago now had just a 0.5-game advantage over Miami for the final NL Wild Card spot. Having said that, if they can turn it around in Atlanta over the next two games, they also only trail the D'Backs by one game after Arizona picked up a big win over the White Sox on Tuesday.
American League Division Series (Begins Oct. 7)
- Tampa Bay/Toronto Winner at 1 Orioles
- Minnesota/Houston Winner at 2 Rangers
No matter which teams comes out of the Rays-Blue Jays series if this bracket holds, we'll get a bit of an AL East rivalry clash, albeit one that was unexpected with the Red Sox and Yankees not involved, as Baltimore awaits the winner. It could be another true divisional clash in the other ALDS series too if the Astros advance to then take on the Rangers.
National League Division Series (Begins Oct. 7)
- Philadelphia/Arizona Winner at 1 Braves
- Milwaukee/Chicago Winner at 2 Dodgers
Things could get quite funky in the NLDS this year. Not only is there the making of last year's big upset, the Phillies toppling the NL East-rival Braves, but whichever NL Central team emerges from the Brewers-Cubs wild card series will have the opportunity to get a crack at a Dodgers team dealing with real pitching issues. That could be a pair of upsets in the making.