2020 MLB playoffs: the talking points and scenarios on the regular season's final weekend

Minnesota Twins right fielder Jake Cave slides into third base before Cincinnati Reds shortstop Freddy Galvis can make a tag at Target Field
Photo of Andrew Wilsher

Andrew Wilsher


Show Bio

Managing Editor of Pickswise. Born and raised in jolly old London, England, with an undying love for the NFL, NBA, soccer and horse racing. A big-time sports bettor who loves futures markets and backing underdogs. Long-suffering New York Jets fan. For Andrew Wilsher media enquiries, please email contact@pickswise.com.
Read more about Andrew Wilsher

The 2020 MLB season got underway just two months ago, but we have already arrived at the final weekend of the regular season.

A number of postseason teams and seedings have already been decided, but there is still plenty on the line over these last few days as the scramble for the playoffs reaches its climax. The final day of the regular season takes place on Sunday, September 27th, with every game scheduled to begin at 8 p.m ET to add to the drama.

How do things stand in the American League?

As far as the American League is concerned, all eight teams for next week’s MLB playoffs wild card series are known, but the seedings are still up in the air.

The Rays won the AL East and will be the #1 seed, while the #2 seed is yet to be decided between AL West winners Oakland and either Minnesota, Cleveland, or Chicago in the AL Central. However, because of how the seedings work, the #2 seed is set to face whichever one of the AL Central teams that finish third, even though they currently have a 34-24 record. Meanwhile, the #3 seed will take on the 29-29 Astros. This makes a game with the Astros more favorable despite that opponent falling to the lower seed.

Whichever way the AL Central finishes, the division winner will be the #2 or #3 seed, the runner-up will be the #4 or #5 seed, and the third-placed team will be the #7 seed.

Divisional winners will earn home-field advantage for the best-of-three wild card series, with the best runner-up also securing that honor.

The full list of AL playoff teams is: the Tampa Bay Rays, Oakland Athletics, Minnesota Twins, Cleveland Indians, New York Yankees, Houston Astros, Chicago White Sox, and Toronto Blue Jays.

How do things stand in the National League?

Over in the National League, six of the eight playoff spots have been decided. The Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta Braves, and Chicago Cubs have all won their respective divisions and will be the #1, #2, and #3 seeds. Also joining them so far is the #4 seed San Diego Padres, while the Miami Marlins and Cincinnati Reds have also qualified. It will be Miami’s first postseason appearance in 17 years.

The St. Louis Cardinals are currently in second place in the NL Central but that is only because they have played two fewer games than the Reds. As a result of them missing games at the start of the season due to Covid-19, they are currently scheduled to play just 58 games. However, they could play one or two games against Detroit on Monday if the result of those two extra games could have an impact on which teams make the playoffs. If it only affects playoff seedings they will not be played.

Milwaukee faces St Louis in its final two games and need to win both to have any hopes of making the playoffs. The Reds meet Minnesota twice as they bid to improve their playoff seeding after securing at least a wild-card spot.

The Cardinals, Reds and Brewers could all still finish second in the NL Central, but the San Francisco Giants only have a wild-card as an option. They are six games back on the Padres in the NL West. They split a double-header against the Padres on Friday and face them two more times to close out the season. With the Padres already locked in at the #4 seed, they have nothing to play for and are likely to rest starters–which is good news for Giants fans.

When do the MLB playoffs start?

The MLB playoffs start on Tuesday, Sept. 29, beginning with the MLB wild card series, which conclude on Friday, Oct. 2. The MLB wild card round is a best-of-three series in which the higher-seeded MLB team will have home advantage throughout.

Following the conclusion of the wild card series, the MLB division series starts on Monday, Oct. 5 and reverts to the best-of-five format for this round. The division series will finish on Saturday, Oct. 10 depending on whether any National League playoffs require a Game 5.

The MLB League Championship Series start on Sunday, Oct. 11 and will be the traditional best-of-seven series. Those series will run until Sunday, Oct. 18 depending on whether either series requires a Game 7.

The MLB World Series starts on Tuesday, Oct. 20 and is a best-of-seven series. The MLB World Series could finish on Wednesday, Oct. 28 if a Game 7 is required. The earliest is the MLB World Series could finish is Saturday, Oct. 24, which is when Game 4 takes place.

Pickswise is the home of free MLB picks. Check out the latest previews and parlays to give yourself the best chance of winning big on the MLB action.

By signing up you agree to our terms and privacy policy