2022 MLB playoffs: Clinching scenarios, bracket and schedule

ByESPN.com via ESPN logo
Thursday, September 29, 2022 9:03PM
ESPN

There are still a couple weeks left to go in the 2022 MLB regular season, but a few teamsare already looking toward October.

The Los Angeles Dodgers have officially secured the season's first playoff berth, and the Houston Astros,New York Mets, Atlanta Braves,New York Yankees,Cleveland Guardiansand St. Louis Cardinalsfollowed next. The Toronto Blue Jays then became the second team to to clinch one of six wild-card spots, while the Seattle Mariners, Tampa Bay Rays, Philadelphia Phillies and San Diego Padresare still battling it out for the remaining four.

Beyond division races, there are many storylines to watch as the regular season comes to an end and October begins, such as Seattle's attempt to break a 21-year playoff drought, Aaron Judge's race to 62 home runs and Albert Pujols' reaching 700 career home runs.

Where do the current playoff matchups stand? What series should you be paying attention to in the final week? And what does the playoff schedule look like? We have everything you need to know as the regular season winds down.

Key links: Standings| Wild-card standings | New tiebreaker format

What are this October's MLB playoff matchups as it stands now?

American League

Wild-card round: (6) Mariners at (3) Guardians*, (5) Rays at (4) Blue Jays*

ALDS: Mariners/Guardians vs. (2) Yankees*, Rays/Blue Jays vs. (1) Astros*

National League

Wild-card round: (6) Phillies at (3) Cardinals*, (5) Padres at (4) Braves*

NLDS: Phillies/Cardinals vs. (2) Mets*, Padres/Braves vs. (1) Dodgers*

*Clinched playoff berth

Who is in?

Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgerssecured the season's first playoff berth -- L.A.'s 10th straight trip to the postseason -- and followed that byclinching the NL Westwith a win in Arizona the next day.

Houston Astros

The Astros became the second team to clinch a postseason berth and followed it up by clinching the AL West title, which is Houston's fifth division crown in the past six seasons.

New York Mets

The Mets clinched a playoff spotwith Max Scherzer's 200th career win in Milwaukee. While New York is still chasing the bigger goal of an NL East title and the wild-card round bye that comes with it, this is the team's first playoff appearance since 2016.

Atlanta Braves

While the battle for the NL East will likely come down to the wire, the defending champion Braves clinched a return to the postseason the day after the Mets.

New York Yankees

The Yankees secured their sixth straight playoff berth with a walk-off win over the Red Sox and then wrapped up the AL East title with a win at Toronto on Tuesday.

Cleveland Guardians

The Guardians clinched the AL Central for the first time since 2018 with a 10-4 win over Texas on Sunday afternoon, becoming the sixth team to secure a postseason berth.

St. Louis Cardinals

With a win over the division-rival Brewers on Tuesday night, the Cardinals took home the NL Central title and secured a playoff spot.

Toronto Blue Jays

The Blue Jays were able to clinch one of five remaining wild-card berths with an Orioles loss on Thursday afternoon, securing the AL's No. 4 seed.

Who could be next?

Of the four remaining wild-card contenders, the Rays are the closest to clinching a playoff spot -- and can do so as early as tonight. The Mariners and Padres can also secure a postseason berth as early as tomorrow.

Key upcoming series

Mets at Braves: Sept. 30-Oct. 2

In what is arguably the biggest series of the season, New York and Atlanta will battle it out for the NL East title in a three-game matchup that will have a huge impact on playoff seeding.

Rays at Astros: Sept. 30-Oct. 2

A couple factors can be determined during this three-game set: Houston can clinch the No. 1 seed in the AL and Tampa Bay can secure a postseason berth.

Orioles at Yankees: Sept. 30-Oct. 2

While neither team has anything left to play for in terms of the postseason, all eyes remain on the Yankees with Judge on the verge of setting a new AL record for home runs in a single season.

Playoff schedule

Wild Card Series

Best of three, all games at better seed's stadium

Game 1: Friday, Oct. 7

Game 2: Saturday, Oct. 8

Game 3: Sunday, Oct. 9*

Division Series

Best of five

ALDS

Game 1: Tuesday, Oct. 11

Game 2: Thursday, Oct. 13

Game 3: Saturday Oct. 15

Game 4: Sunday, Oct. 16*

Game 5: Monday, Oct. 17*

NLDS

Game 1: Tuesday, Oct. 11

Game 2: Wednesday, Oct. 12

Game 3: Friday, Oct. 14

Game 4: Saturday, Oct. 15*

Game 5: Sunday, Oct. 16*

League Championship Series

Best of seven

ALCS

Game 1: Wednesday, Oct. 19

Game 2: Thursday, Oct. 20

Game 3: Saturday Oct. 22

Game 4: Sunday, Oct. 23

Game 5: Monday, Oct. 24*

Game 6: Tuesday, Oct. 25*

Game 7: Wednesday Oct. 26*

NLCS

Game 1: Tuesday, Oct. 18

Game 2: Wednesday, Oct. 19

Game 3: Friday, Oct. 21

Game 4: Saturday, Oct. 22

Game 5: Sunday, Oct. 23*

Game 6: Monday, Oct. 24*

Game 7: Tuesday, Oct. 25*

World Series

Best of seven

Game 1: Friday, Oct. 28

Game 2: Saturday, Oct. 29

Game 3: Monday, Oct. 31

Game 4: Tuesday, Nov. 1

Game 5: Wednesday, Nov. 2*

Game 6: Friday, Nov. 4*

Game 7: Saturday, Nov. 5*

* If necessary