2022 Playoffs – What if the season finished today?

With around 35 regular season games remaining, let’s look at the playoff situation. As you will recall, the 2022 postseason is a new 12-team format comprising the six division winners and the three wild-card teams for each league.

Wild Card Series

There are no more one-off wild-card games. Instead, it is a three-game series on consecutive days of October 7, 8, and 9. While the two division winners with the best records in each league get a bye and can rest their stars, the division winner with the worst record plays the wild card team with the worst record. The other series pits the remaining two wild card teams against each other.

Division Series

The Division Series is the traditional best-of-five format, although there is a distinct advantage in reaching it as one of the two top division winners rather than via a wild card series as the starter of the first wild card game only has three days rest until the first game of the Division Series.


There are currently eight teams over .500, but let’s be generous to Tony LaRussa and include the 62-65 White Sox in the discussion.

AL West

The Houston Astros hold an 11.5-game lead over the Seattle Mariners. It looks tough to see a scenario where James Click and Jerry Dipoto don’t both make it into the postseason. 

  • Postseason beckons: Houston Astros, Seattle Mariners
  • Fighting until the end:
  • It’s all over for: Texas Rangers, Los Angeles Angels, Oakland Athletics

AL Central

The Cleveland Guardians’ two-game lead is the smallest of the six division leaders. Like a contortionist, the Minnesota Twins are breathing down the neck of the Guardians while simultaneously looking over their own shoulder at the thin but hugely talented Chicago White Sox roster. This is the tightest division race but it is likely that only the champions will progress to October baseball.

  • Postseason beckons
  • Fighting until the end: Cleveland Guardians, Minnesota Twins, Chicago White Sox
  • It’s all over for: Kansas City Royals, Detroit Tigers

AL East

Despite only nine wins in August, the Yankees enjoy a 7.5-game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays in the most intriguing of the six divisions. The Blue Jays are in third, a further two games back, but both Fangraphs and ESPN rate Toronto’s chances of reaching the playoffs higher than Tampa Bay’s. The smart money is betting against the Baltimore Orioles but they still have upcoming fixtures against the Tigers, Athletics, and Nationals.

  • Postseason beckons: New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto Blue Jays
  • Fighting until the end: Baltimore Orioles,
  • It’s all over for: Boston Red Sox

If the season finished today

Astros and Yankees are the two division winners with the best records.

Wild card series 1: Guardians v Blue Jays (all three games in Cleveland)

Wild card series 2: Rays v Mariners (all three games in Seattle)


It feels like there is even less to play for in the NL with seven teams vying for six spots

NL West

Although not mathematically division champions, the Los Angeles Dodgers and their 19.5-game lead over second-place San Diego Padres have wrapped up the NL West. Alas, I fear that the Giants’ four-game losing streak has all but halted their chances of the postseason and in the process, destroyed my prediction of a World Series in the Bay area.

  • Postseason beckons: Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres
  • Fighting until the end: San Francisco Giants
  • It’s all over for: Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies

NL Central

The Travelling Wilburys (old geezers on a farewell tour) from St Louis hold a significant six-game lead over the Milwaukee Brewers. Lots can change in the final 35 games, but it looks like Albert, Yadier and Adam will get to strut their stuff for the national audience one last time. Milwaukee could be the only NL team with a winning record not to progress.

  • Postseason beckons
  • Fighting until the end: St Louis Cardinals, Milwaukee Brewers
  • It’s all over for: Chicago Cubs, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds

NL East

There is little to choose between the Braves and Mets. Atlanta holds a three-game advantage but both teams seem certain to be in the playoffs. As mentioned above, the reward for finishing top of the division is significant. Philadelphia is likely to be the third NL East representative in the postseason.

  • Postseason beckons: Atlanta Braves, New York Mets
  • Fighting until the end: Philadelphia Phillies
  • It’s all over for: Miami Marlins, Washington Nationals

If the season finished today…

Dodgers and Mets are the division winners with the best record.

Wild card series 1: Cardinals v Padres (all three games in St Louis)

Wild card series 2: Braves v Phillies (all three games in Atlanta)

Gav is one of the growing team of writers at Bat Flips & Nerds. You can follow him on Twitter @GavTramps. Want to write for Bat Flips & Nerds? Click on the “Write for us” link above.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.