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MLB playoff pictures: Updated playoff groupings, standings, key matchups for Warriors, Yankees and Blue Jays

The 2022 MLB season is racing to the finish line. When you don’t see Albert Pujols trying to hit more than 700 career home runs, or Aaron Judge trying to set an American League home run record…or winning a triple crown, it’s all about advancing in the playoffs. To keep you up-to-date on the playoffs, we’re showing playoff images every day from now until Game 162 on October 5, and highlighting games that could ultimately make a difference.

What does MLB’s 2022 playoff format look like?

First thing: As you may recall, team owners and players expanded the playoffs as part of the collective bargaining agreement that ended the lockout. Each league now has six teams, three division champions and three wild cards. That means a new path to the World Series, and different considerations for watching the game.

When the venue for each league is determined, it will be like this:

  • The No. 1 and No. 2 seeds — the two best division champions — get byes into the division series, which is a huge advantage. The other four teams will face off in a new three-game wild-card series that replaces a wild-card matchup and will be hosted exclusively at Better Seed Park.

  • The division champion with the worst record will be the No. 3 seed and No. 6 seed, the wild card with the worst record team. The winner of the series goes on to face the No. 2 seed, whichever team comes out on top.

  • The best two wild cards, the 4th seed and the 5th seed, will play against each other. The winner will advance to face the top seed.

From there, things look familiar. The partition series would be the best of the five. The Championship Series and World Series will be the best of the seven games, with the higher seeded team taking home-court advantage by hosting Games 1, 2, 6 and 7.

There will be no match 163rd tiebreaker. A draw will be settled based on the team’s head-to-head record. If it’s also a tie, the league will go through a series of other season records to find a winner, starting with the division record.

How are the playoffs now?

If the season is over and the playoffs start this morning, this is the standings when entering the league groups.

American League

No. 1 seed : Houston Astros (win AL West)

No. 2 seed: New York Yankees (playoff spot won)

Wild card series: No. 2 3 Cleveland Guards (to AL Central) vs. 6 Seattle Mariners

Wild Card Series: No. 4 Toronto Blue Jays vs. No. 5 Tampa Bay Rays

Still in the game: Baltimore Orioles (4 wild cards), Chicago White Sox (7.5 wild cards), Minnesota Twins (9.5 wild cards)

National League

No. No. 1 seed: Los Angeles Dodgers (NL West and No. 1 seed)

No. 2 seed: New York Mets (playoff spot locked)

Card Series: No. 3 St. Louis Cardinals vs. No. 6 Philadelphia Phillies

Wild Card Series: No. 4 Atlanta Braves (get playoff spot) vs. No. 5 San Diego Padres Teams

still in contention: Milwaukee Brewers (1.5 wild card, 6.5 NL Central), San Francisco Giants (8.5 wild card)

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and the Blue Jays host Aaron Judge and the Yankees’ pivotal series starting Monday. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

What are the remaining key matches?

The most important game is the NL East Championship. The Mets and Warriors are running toward a weekend series that could decide the division and No. 2 seed, which comes with a major goodbye to the division series.

Most of the rest of the plot lies in NL, too. The Brewers are currently the only team with a better than 1 percent chance of making the playoffs. FanGraphs put their odds at 20.3%, and the Phillies have the lowest odds (86.9%) of any team in the field right now.

In AL, contention is for positioning. The AL wild-card seed could flip a few times before the season ends, with the Blue Jays holding a two-game advantage in the series against the division-leading Yankees, with the No. 4 seed heading into the series.

What’s the big game today?

The Yankees and Blue Jays face off in Toronto. Technically, the Blue Jays weren’t eliminated from the AL East, but they actually stayed two steps ahead of the Rays and Mariners in the game. (And to avoid giving up Aaron Judge’s historic 61st home run.)

Elsewhere, the Warriors had a game against the humble Washington Nationals. In this Mets-Warriors matchup, every day feels like a must-win game as Atlanta is currently 1.5 games from New York and three games on Friday. The Warriors beat Washington 12-4 this year.



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