The MLB regular season is winding down, which means it’s time to start looking ahead to the playoffs. While several teams have clinched berths, a lot of races remain wide open.
For the most compelling races in each league, look to the east. Half of the AL and NL fields are composed of East clubs: the Yankees (division leader), Blue Jays and Rays (wild cards) in the American League, and the Mets (leader), Braves and Phillies (wild cards) in the Nationals.
The Central divisions have teams in the wild-card hunt, although the White Sox are all but out American League. The Brewers are two games behind the Phillies for the final NL spot as they look to make the playoffs for the fifth year in a row.
The sixth seed in the American League is the Mariners, who are looking to break a 20-year playoff drought, the longest in North American professional sports.
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Playoff expansion has added a layer to the races: six teams in each league now make the playoffs, up from five.
Here’s everything to know about the MLB playoffs with the regular season in the home stretch:
When do the MLB playoffs start in 2022?
The MLB playoffs will begin Oct. 7 with the Wild Card Series. They could end as late as Nov. 5 if the World Series goes seven games.
- Wild Card Series: Oct. 7-9
- Division Series: Oct. 11-17
- League Championship Series: Oct. 18-26
- World Series: Oct. 28 to Nov. 5
MLB playoff bracket
The seedings and potential matchups in each league through games of Sept. 23. The division winners/leaders receive the top three seeds, followed by the three wild-card teams.
- Astros (West champion)
- Yankees (East leader)
- Guardians (Central leader)
- Blue Jays (Wild card 1)
- Mariners (Wild card 2)
- Rays (Wild card 3)
- Dodgers (West champion)
- Mets (East leader)
- Cardinals (Central leader)
- Braves (Wild card 1)
- Padres (Wild card 2)
- Phillies (Wild card 3)
AL Wild Card Series (Best of 3)
- No. 3 Guardians vs. No. 6 Mariners in Cleveland
- No. 4 Blue Jays vs. No. 5 Rays in Toronto
NL Wild Card Series (Best of 3)
- No. 3 Cardinals vs. No. 6 Phillies in St. Louis
- No. 4 Braves vs. No. 5 Padres in Atlanta
AL Division Series (Best of 5)
- No. 1 Astros vs. No. 4 Blue Jays or No. 5 Rays
- No. 2 Yankees vs. No. 3 Guardians or No. 6 Mariners
NL Division Series (Best of 5)
- No. 1 Dodgers vs. No. 4 Braves or No. 5 Padres
- No. 2 Mets vs. No. 3 Cardinals or No. 6 Phillies
MLB playoff schedule 2022
This section will be updated when matchups and schedules are set.
How do the MLB playoffs work?
The new playoff structure in each league breaks down as follows:
- No. 1 seed: Best league record
- No. 2 seed: Second-best division winner
- No. 3 seed: Third-best division winner
- No. 4 seed: Best record among non-division winners
- No. 5 seed: Second-best record among non-division winners
- No. 6 seed: Third-best record among non-division winners
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The Nos. 1 and 2 seeds in each league receive a bye in the Wild Card Series. The No. 3 seed will play the No. 6 seed in a best-of-three series, with all games at the higher seed. The setup is the same between the Nos. 4 and 5 seeds; the No. 4 seed will host all games in the series.
The No. 1 seed in each league will play the winner of the 4-5 series and the No. 2 seed will play the 3-6 winner in a best-of-five Division Series. Teams are not reseeded after the Wild Card Series.
From there, the Division Series winners will meet in the best-of-seven League Championship Series. The winners of those series will meet in the best-of-seven World Series.
There are no more Game 163s under the new playoff format. Regular-season ties will be broken in this order:
- Head-to-head record
- Division record
- Interdivision record
- Last half of intraleague games
- Last half of intraleague games plus one
MLB playoff picture
The playoff field through games of Sept. 21. The division winners/leaders receive the top three seeds, followed by the three wild-card teams.