With the dust fully settled from the 2023 trade deadline, we’re getting a sense of the new landscape around the league as the we hit the sprint to the regular-season finish. Preseason expectations are out the window; gone are the days where teams and fans can preach patience over a long season. It’s now or never, and the playoff picture seemingly shifts every hour: The Mariners are looking like world-beaters after just sweeping the Astros in Houston, while the Dodgers have won nine of 10 and are challenging the Braves’ reign atop the NL; the Brewers had an impressive Texas sweep of their own against the Rangers, while seemingly no one else in the NL Wild Card race wants to actually make the postseason; the Rays and Red Sox have started righting the ship, while the Yankees ... well, they have not.
So: Where does your favorite team stand? Let’s take a look at the bracket as of August 21 and see what the potential MLB playoff matchups could look like.
MLB playoff bracket: Matchups on August 21
The major change here is the introduction of the white-hot Mariners to the postseason party, as they’ve grabbed the final AL Wild Card spot from the Blue Jays thanks to a 31-13 record since July 1. The winner of the 3-6 matchup would face the No. 2 Texas Rangers (72-51; AL West leader) in the Divisional round. The winner of the 4-5 matchup would face the top-seeded Baltimore Orioles (76-47; AL East leader) in the next round.
Again, we have a new sixth seed, as the Cubs have ridden their aggressive trade deadline to the final NL Wild Card spot. The Phillies and Giants, meanwhile, have traded home-field in that hypothetical 4-5 matchup. The winner of the 3-6 matchup would go on to face the No. 2 Los Angeles Dodgers (76-47; NL West leader) in the Divisional round. The winner of the 4-5 matchup would face the No. 1 Atlanta Braves (80-42; NL East leader) in the next round.