Czerwonka: 2023 MLB Playoffs Preview

MLB Playoffs graphic. - Graphics Editor / Julia Quennessen

The postseason picture didn’t come into focus until the very end of the 2023 MLB season. While some of the bottom teams already look ahead to 2024, others easily punched their ticket to the playoffs. There are a few teams who fought harder to seal their spot. 

But at this point, it’s anyone’s game. As fans and everyone else know almost anything can happen in the MLB Postseason. Just last year, the Philadelphia Phillies, who went on an 11-year playoff drought, made it as the No. 6 seed in the National League and went all the way to the World Series. 

So, with that being said, let’s take a dive into both the National League and the American League playoff brackets.

National League

Just earlier this month, the dominant Atlanta Braves of the NL East became the first team to secure a playoff berth, off of a win against the divisional rival Philadelphia Phillies, which then was followed up by the Los Angeles Dodgers winning the NL West.

On Tuesday, the Milwaukee Brewers also followed up by securing the NL Central. With those top teams clinching each of their respective divisions, that just leaves the NL Wild Card teams left.

The Phillies, last year’s runner-up, also punched their ticket to the MLB Postseason on Tuesday after a win against the Pirates. With that, it leaves just two more teams. Just recently, the Arizona Diamondbacks and Miami Marlins joined, which officially lays out the NL side of the playoffs. 

As mentioned earlier, the Diamondbacks have secured their spot, with a record of 84-78, clinching a playoff berth for the first time in six years. The record is a vast improvement from just last year, when they finished under .500 (74-88). This, in large part, is due to the emergence of rookie sensation Corbin Carroll, and the impact of players such as Lourdes Gurriel Jr. If the Diamondbacks can get past the Brewers, playoff baseball would make its return to Chase Field.

After their 7-3 win against the Pirates, the Marlins have clinched a playoff spot for the fourth time in their franchise history. When August turned over to September, the Marlins entered the month at 67-67, but thanks to a 17-10, the Marlins were able to push themselves into the playoffs. 

Now, it’s time for matchups for this upcoming week of the 2023 MLB Postseason.

Atlanta Braves: Bye Week (No. 1 seed)

Los Angeles Dodgers: Bye Week (No. 2 seed)

Arizona Diamondbacks No. 6 vs. Milwaukee Brewers No. 3 

Miami Marlins No. 5 vs Philadelphia Phillies No. 4

American League 

Although more teams had been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, the AL was way more hectic compared to the NL. 

For starters, a few days ago, the Minnesota Twins won their division, the AL Central. However, that isn’t really a surprise considering that this is the weakest division in all of the MLB. Both the Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays, who started the season red-hot, locked themselves into a wild card spot after the Baltimore Orioles won the AL East, which nobody saw coming.

However, there’s still one other division left, the AL West, which was absolute chaos for around a week. Just recently, the Texas Rangers, who finished the year 90-72, secured a playoff berth for the first time since 2016. They did this against the Seattle Mariners, who were also in the playoff race. These two teams faced off against each other in an intense season series and ultimately, the Rangers 6-1 win is what made them lock in their spot thus eliminating the Mariners. 

On Sunday, the defending champion Houston Astros took the AL West after an 8-1 win against the Diamondbacks– with a little help from the Mariners. The Mariners, who just played their last game on Sunday, took a 1-0 win against the Rangers, thus officially crowning the Astros as the winners of their division.

After the intense and tight battle between three teams in the AL West, these will be the first-round matchups.

Baltimore Orioles: Bye Week (No. 1 seed)

Houston Astros: Bye Week (No. 2 seed)

Toronto Blue Jays No. 6 vs. Minnesota Twins No. 3

Texas Rangers No. 5 vs. Tampa Bay Rays No. 4

Now, we turn to this week, as each of the eight teams who play this week prepare to have a best-of-three clash and fans gear up for the wild ride and memories that October baseball brings. 

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