The MLB Playoffs are approaching very quickly. So as we get closer and closer to October, let’s take a look at some MLB Playoffs analysis, predictions, schedule, and more!
MLB Playoffs Schedule/Format
This year, the MLB will be returning to a 10 team playoffs, down from 16 last year in a 60 game season. The playoff schedule will start on October 5, and continuing until possibly November 3 (if the World Series goes to a Game 7). More MLB dates here.
MLB Playoffs Picture (Updated 8/23/21)
Chicago White Sox – The Sox aren’t the best team in the American League, not by a longshot. But what they do have going for them is the fact they’re in a weak division, up 9.5 games from Cleveland. They’ll easily get into the playoffs, but the question is how far they can go. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Should Be In
Houston Astros – Although it seems to be a safe bet that the Astros will be in the playoffs, the A’s, who are tied for second in the wild card, are only 3.5 games back. A losing streak for the Astros and a winning streak from the A’s, and the Astros could find themselves on the outside looking in.
Tampa Bay Rays – The Rays are almost into lock territory. Almost. They are 7 games up from the Red Sox who are tied with the A’s for the second wild card spot. When I update this again, the Rays will most likely be in lock territory.
New York Yankees – The Yankees are in an odd position right now. They are just above the bubble, but just below Should Be In territory. They’re 2.5 games up from the A’s and the Red Sox for the first Wild Card spot, which means they could very easily fall, especially with the amount of games they have against those two teams – 7. Lose those games and they could find themselves out of the playoffs.
On The Bubble
Boston Red Sox – The second AL Wild Card spot is split in a two way tie between the Red Sox and the A’s. This is going to be a very close race to the finish, and either team could wind up with the spot. Right now I’m leaning slightly towards the Red Sox due to their final 15 games of the regular season, which feature the Orioles 6 times and the Nationals 3 times.
Oakland Athletics – Although I like the A’s as a team more than the Red Sox, their final 15 games will feature only 2 games with a team that has a losing record. That team is the Angels, who will likely have Mike Trout and are only 2 games below .500.
Seattle Mariners – The Mariners are a team that has subtly snuck into the playoff discussion. Although there are two teams tied for the second Wild Card spot, the Mariners are only 3 games back. This creates a situation in which the Mariners aren’t totally out of it, however, it’s going to be fairly hard for them to earn a playoff spot.
Toronto Blue Jays – As they’re 4.5 games back, the odds of a playoff spot are slim but possible. The pure talent on this team could end up carrying them to the postseason.
Very Outside Shot:
Cleveland Indians – Right now, Cleveland’s shot at the playoffs stands, at most, at .5%. If there’s anything that helps Cleveland, it’s that they play 10 of their 15 last games against teams with a losing record. Cleveland has two paths to the playoffs: the first is that they catch up from a 7.5 GB deficit in the Wild Card. The second is that they overcome being 9.5 GB to the White Sox. They only play 5 more games against the Sox, so they would need a sweep and a lot of help.
Los Angeles Angels – It would take a very, very crazy scenario for the Angels to make the playoffs. Right now, they stand at 8.5 GB from the second Wild Card spot. They only face 9 games against teams that are ahead of them in the hunt. That could provide an opportunity, however the Angels would need to win all of them plus get a little luck. The only good news is that they’re expecting Mike Trout by the end of the season.
San Francisco Giants – Right now, the Giants are the number one team in the MLB. They’re 2.5 games up from the Dodgers, who are, in turn, up 9.5 games from the second Wild Card spot. That means a lock for San Francisco to get into the playoffs for the first time since 2016.
Los Angeles Dodgers – Going into the season, we thought that the Dodgers would finish first in their division. They surprisingly are not first, although they are the second best team in the MLB. They’ll play in the Wild Card game, and have essentially locked home field advantage. They could also win the NL West, as they’re only 2.5 games out. We’ll have to wait and see what happens.
Milwaukee Brewers – Right now, the Brewers are up 7.5 games on the Reds for the NL Central. That means that it’s almost certain that the Brewers will win the division, especially with them only playing 3 more games against the Reds. I’ll give them the lock.
Should Be In:
Atlanta Braves – At this point, the Braves are practically a lock. They’ve been on a winning streak and are 5 games up on the Phillies, however I have to put them here due to the fact that if they didn’t win their division, they wouldn’t be in the playoffs. Expect to see Atlanta in the postseason.
On The Bubble:
Cincinnati Reds – Despite the Reds being 7.5 games back in their division, they are currently leading the Padres for the second NL Wild Card spot. I wrote an article on this, but just in case you don’t read it, I’ll summarize it quickly. The Reds have the easiest schedule in baseball, while the Padres have the hardest. Therefore, the Padres will not be headed to the playoffs and the Reds will take their spot.
San Diego Padres – Going into the season, it seemed almost certain that the Padres were headed to the postseason. But here we are. The Padres have one of the toughest schedules in all of baseball, which is bad news especially as they need a good final stretch. At this point, it’s fairly unlikely that the Padres will make the postseason.
Philadelphia Phillies: The Phillies aren’t in a great spot right now. They’re 5 GB from the Wild Card and the Division, which is just out of reach. They would need a collapse from the Braves to reach October.
St. Louis Cardinals: As soon as the Cardinals got Nolan Arenado, I thought this team was playoff-bound. That’s not the case. Sitting at 4.5 GB, it won’t be easy for St. Louis to reach the playoffs. It’s not likely that they’re headed to the playoffs.
Very Outside Shot
New York Mets: This is a team that we thought could go places. With the acquisition of Francisco Lindor, it looked like the Mets would easily take the division. Now, as they sit 7 GB, we have to wonder what went wrong. The Mets still have a slim chance at reaching the playoffs, but I wouldn’t count on it.
MLB Playoff Predictions 2021
And now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for–my postseason predictions! As you can see, I have the Rays winning in a rematch with the Dodgers. Some marquee matchups that I think will happen is a Red Sox vs Yankees Wild Card, a Dodgers vs Giants Divisional Matchup, and of course the World Series!
As the race for the MLB Playoffs continue, I’ll update this with new predictions and analysis every couple of days. This should be a very exciting lead-up to the Postseason, and I’m excited to see how it turns out!