The MLB playoff race is heating up by the day and with just over six weeks left in the regular season, every game becomes that much more important.
Let’s take a look at where things stand as we head into the final full week of August.
MLB playoff bracket: Matchups on August 23
The AL Wild Card race is fascinating as six teams all are within 3.5 games of each other heading into the new week. The Rays, Blue Jays, and Mariners are effectively deadlocked and have been alternating seeds by the day for the last week. Meanwhile, the Twins, Orioles, and White Sox are all on the outside looking in at the moment.
If the season ended today, the Guardians and the Mariners would duke it out in a three-game series for a shot at the AL East-leading New York Yankees in the Divisional round. Considering how the Yanks have struggled since the All-Star break, both of those clubs would love to get a crack at them right now. Meanwhile, the Rays and Jays would meet in a best-of-3 series for an opportunity to face the Al West-leading Houston Astros in the other Divisional round matchup.
The Cardinals have won seven straight games heading into the new week and have begun to establish some separation from the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central standings. They’re still a ways off from challenging the Los Angeles Dodgers or the New York Mets for a first-round bye, but keep your eye on them over the final stretch of the season.
If the season ended today, the Cards and Phillies would face each other in the Wild Card round for a shot at the Mets in the Divisional. Meanwhile, the defending World Series champion Braves would host the Padres for the chance to battle the Dodgers in the next round. The aforementioned Brewers are on the outside looking in, currently sitting 1.5 games back of the Phillies for the last Wild Card spot.