It seems like just yesterday that pitchers and catchers were reporting for Spring Training. But Labor Day has come and gone, and the MLB playoffs are almost upon us: The end of the 2023 regular season is set for Sunday, Oct. 1, while Wild Card series begin a couple of days later on Tuesday, Oct. 3. With a new postseason format and tight races up and down both leagues, it’s bound to be a furious race to the finish — so we’re here to help you keep track of the mayhem with a running list of the teams who have punched their ticket to October.
2023 MLB playoff teams that have clinched
Atlanta Braves, clinched NL East and top seed — It’s no surprise that a Braves team that’s been the class of the Majors for months now would also be the first team in the Majors to clinch a playoff spot. Atlanta wrapped up their spot in the postseason with a 5-2 win over the Pirates on Sunday afternoon — not that that was ever in doubt — then nailed down the NL East by taking three of four in Philadelphia last week. They made the race for the No. 1 seed in the NL playoffs briefly interesting, but eventually slammed the door on the Dodgers without a ton of trouble.
Los Angeles Dodgers, clinched NL West and second seed — Despite all the turmoil L.A. has gone through this season — losing Trea Turner and Cody Bellinger, injuries up and down their starting rotation, filling gaps with unproven rookies and unheralded vets — here they are again, NL West champs for the 10th time in 11 years after beating the Mariners over the weekend.
Baltimore Orioles, clinched AL East and top seed — The Orioles put themselves in pole position for their first division title in nearly a decade with a dramatic rally against the Rays a couple of weeks ago, a win that also officially punched their ticket to the playoffs. Tampa Bay made the AL East interesting up until the final week of the season, but Baltimore took care of business at home to seal the deal.
Tampa Bay Rays, clinched first AL Wild Card spot — Tampa has also dealt with more than its fair share of turmoil in the second half of the season, but the Rays weathered the storm — despite a bevy of rotation injuries and the seriousness of Wander Franco’s off-field allegations, they’re locked into the fourth seed and will have home-field advantage in the Wild Card Round.
Minnesota Twins, clinched AL Central and third seed— It took a bit longer than it should’ve, but the Twins finally put the Guardians to bed and wrapped up the dismal AL Central. They’ve been locked into the third seed in the American League playoff bracket for a while; what remains to be seen is which team — likely one of the AL West’s big three, but possibly Toronto — they’ll be welcoming to Target Field in the Wild Card Round.
Milwaukee Brewers, clinched NL Central and third seed — While the Cubs were busy flailing this month, the Brewers stayed the course, wrapping up the Central with enough time to spare to give their big three starting pitchers a bit of a break ahead of their Wild Card series.
Philadelphia Phillies, clinched first NL Wild Card spot — Philly took care of business early in the week and has spent the last few days just trying to make sure they’re healthy and have their best pitchers lined up for next week’s Wild Card series. Depending on how things go on Sunday, they’ll be facing off against either the Marlins or Diamondbacks at Citizens Bank Park.
Texas Rangers, clinched playoff spot — Texas deservedly partied after conquering Luis Castillo on the road to snap their losing skid and claim a playoff spot — eliminating the Mariners in the process — but the Rangers then fell flat on Sunday afternoon, ceding the division to the Astros.
Houston Astros, clinched AL West — Speaking of Houston. It hasn’t been easy for the Astros over the past couple of days, but a sweep of the D-backs in Arizona not only punched their ticket to October but also snatched their sixth AL West title in seven years. Houston now gets a first-round bye, while the Rangers fall all the way to the fifth seed — and a date with the Rays in the Wild Card Round.
Toronto Blue Jays, clinched playoff spot — Toronto had the chance to wrap up the fifth seed on Saturday, but they stubbed their toe against a Rays club that doesn’t have much of anything to play for beyond getting healthy for the Wild Card Round. The Jays now have something on the line on Sunday, should they care: A win, and they’ll be the fifth seed with a first-round matchup against the Rays; lose, and they open the door for the Astros to bump them down to sixth and a first-round matchup against the Twins. (Toronto won the season series against Houston, four games to three.)
Miami Marlins, clinched playoff spot — Miami’s magical week concluded with a 7-3 win over the Pirates on Saturday that, combined with the Cubs’ collapse over the last few days, officially punched their Wild Card ticket. MLB has already announced that they will not make the Marlins return to New York on Monday to complete the final inning of Thursday’s rained-out game against the Mets, meaning Miami can wrap up the fifth seed with another win in Pittsburgh on Sunday.
Arizona Diamondbacks, clinched playoff spot — If they don’t, however, they open the door for Arizona, who also clinched on Saturday despite another tough loss to Houston thanks to the Reds falling to the Cardinals in St. Louis. A D-backs win against the Astros on Sunday combined with a Marlins loss would give Arizona the fifth seed and bump Miami down to sixth.