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MLB playoff predictions

Chris Kim | flickr

The excitement of the playoffs starts early with a thrilling sprint to the postseason.

It is almost October, which means the MLB playoff race is in full swing. For teams in the hunt, truly every game matters with the playoffs less than a month anyway.

The division leaders in the NL are the Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Milwaukee Brewers. Atlanta already clinched the east, and Los Angeles is a sure bet to win the west. Milwaukee has a few games on Chicago and will likely win the Central.

The two teams that currently hold the first two NL Wild Card spots are the Philadelphia Phillies and the Chicago Cubs. While those two teams are not tightly interlocked with the other teams trying to make the playoffs, there are still enough games for either team to lose their spot.

The American League Wild Card race is not as crowded in its standings. The Toronto Blue Jays is the only team on the outside looking in with a chance. Toronto is a game and a half out of the third Wild Card spot. The three AL Wild Card spots are currently occupied by the Tampa Bay Rays, Texas Rangers, and Seattle Mariners.

Six teams from each conference—the National League and the American League—make the playoffs. The playoff bracket is made up of three division winners and three Wild Card teams. The top two division winners are awarded automatic advancement to the Divisional round. The remaining four teams start in the Wild Card round in best-of-three series

The National League Wild Card race is tight, which makes for an entertaining end of season playoff push. The Miami Marlins, Cincinnati Reds, San Francisco Giants, and Arizona Diamondbacks are all either tied for or sit half a game out of the third and final playoff spot.

Those four teams competing for the last NL Wild Card spot have little to no chance mathematically to win their respective divisions. None of those teams made the playoffs last year, so it would be a great accomplishment for any of them to play in October.

Unlike in the NL, two out of the three teams that currently hold AL Wild Card positions are in a battle to win their divisions. It is possible that current division leaders end up losing their top spots and play in the Wild Card round.

Tampa is behind the first place Baltimore Orioles by one game in the East, and Seattle trails the Houston Astros by just half a game for the lead in the West. The Minnesota Twins are well positioned to win the Central as the third division winner in the conference.

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