MLB playoff tracker: Who can clinch next, key series and current playoff bracket

There are still weeks left to go in the 2022 MLB regular season, but a few teams — mainly the red-hot Los Angeles Dodgers — are already looking toward October.

The Dodgers, along with the Houston Astros, New York Mets, and Atlanta Braves, to name a few teams, are on track to secure a postseason berth sooner than their counterparts. Meanwhile, clubs such as the Seattle Mariners, Tampa Bay Rays, Philadelphia Phillies and San Diego Padres, are battling it out for the remaining wild-card spots.

Beyond division races, there are many storylines to watch as the regular season comes to an end and October begins, such as Seattle’s attempt to break a 21-year playoff drought, Aaron Judge’s race to 62 home runs and Albert Pujols’ quest for 700 career home runs.

Where do the current playoff matchups stand? What series should you be paying attention to in the coming week? How can the Dodgers be the first team to clinch a postseason berth? And what does the playoff schedule look like? We have everything you need to know as the regular season winds down.

Key links: Standings | Wild-card standings | Guide to every race (ESPN+)

What are this October’s MLB playoff matchups as it stands now?

American League

Wild-card round: (6) Blue Jays at (3) Guardians, (5) Rays at (4) Mariners

ALDS: Blue Jays/Guardians vs. (2) Yankees, Rays/Mariners vs. (1) Astros

National League

Wild-card round: (6) Phillies at (3) Cardinals, (5) Padres at (4) Braves

NLDS: Phillies/Cardinals vs. (2) Mets, Padres/Braves vs. (1) Dodgers

Who can clinch a playoff spot next?

Los Angeles Dodgers

With a comfortable lead over the Astros for MLB’s best record, the Dodgers are on the verge of becoming the first team to punch a ticket to this year’s MLB playoffs. L.A. can clinch a postseason berth Saturday if:

  • The Dodgers win Friday and Saturday at San Diego AND the Brewers lose Friday or Saturday vs. Cincinnati;

  • The Dodgers win Friday or Saturday at San Diego AND the Brewers lose Friday and Saturday vs. Cincinnati

Key upcoming series

Rays at Yankees: Sept. 9-11

After once holding a 15½-game lead in the AL East, the Yankees are now just trying to hold off the Rays over the final weeks as the teams meet in New York. The three-game series is the last between these two teams, before New York takes on Boston, Milwaukee and Pittsburgh. Tampa Bay currently holds the top wild-card spot.

Twins at Guardians: Sept. 9-11

The Guardians and Twins have traded spots atop the AL Central, and even though Cleveland has had the opportunity to pull away in the race, Minnesota — and Chicago — have kept this race close. This three-game series is the first of two upcoming series between the teams as they battle it out for the division title, with the White Sox also currently in the mix.

Mariners at Braves: Sept. 9-11

Every game is important for Atlanta as it attempts to take the No. 1 spot in the NL East from the Mets. While New York once had a commanding lead, the Braves have caught up thanks to a torrid second half of the season. The Mariners are in the thick of the AL wild-card race as they attempt to clinch their first playoff berth since 2001.

Dodgers at Padres: Sept. 9-11

The Dodgers are on the verge of clinching their 10th consecutive postseason berth and look to take home their second World Series title since 1988. While the Padres won’t be able to take the division from L.A., they are fighting to hold onto their current sixth seed, which would mark just their second playoff appearance since 2006. The three-game series is the first of two these NL West rivals will play this month.

Playoff schedule

Wild-card round
Best of three, all games at better seed’s stadium

Game 1: Friday, Oct. 7
Game 2: Saturday, Oct. 8
Game 3: Sunday, Oct. 9*

Division series
Best of five

Game 1: Tuesday, Oct. 11
Game 2: Thursday, Oct. 13
Game 3: Saturday Oct. 15
Game 4: Sunday, Oct. 16*
Game 5: Monday, Oct. 17*

Game 1: Tuesday, Oct. 11
Game 2: Thursday, Oct. 13
Game 3: Saturday Oct. 15
Game 4: Sunday, Oct. 16*
Game 5: Monday, Oct. 17*

Division series
Best of five

Game 1: Wednesday, Oct. 19
Game 2: Thursday, Oct. 20
Game 3: Saturday Oct. 22
Game 4: Sunday, Oct. 23
Game 5: Monday, Oct. 24*
Game 6: Tuesday, Oct. 25*
Game 7: Wednesday Oct. 26*

Game 1: Tuesday, Oct. 18
Game 2: Wednesday, Oct. 19
Game 3: Friday, Oct. 21
Game 4: Saturday, Oct. 22
Game 5: Monday, Oct. 24*
Game 6: Tuesday, Oct. 25*
Game 7: Wednesday, Oct. 26*

World Series
Best of seven

Game 1: Friday, Oct. 28
Game 2: Saturday, Oct. 29
Game 3: Monday, Oct. 31
Game 4: Tuesday, Nov. 1
Game 5: Wednesday, Nov. 2*
Game 6: Friday, Nov. 4*
Game 7: Saturday, Nov. 5*

* If necessary

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