MLB 2023 postseason tracker: Follow along with division chases and wild-card races as we count down to October

The Orioles clinched the AL East and the league's top seed on Thursday, as the postseason picture is finally becoming clear

As the month of September rolls along, we’re counting down to the end of the MLB regular season and following all the races to reach the 2023 postseason.

Below are the teams that have clinched their tickets to October or are within 10 wins (or opponent losses) of doing so, with more to be added in the days and weeks to come, as well as what the postseason would look like if the season ended today.

(All numbers current entering play Friday.)


What’s next: The Braves became the first team to clinch a spot in the 2023 postseason with a win over the Pirates on Sept. 10, and then they claimed their sixth consecutive division title with a win over the Phillies on Sept. 13. Owners of baseball's best record, the Braves will be the NL's top seed, guaranteeing them a bye to the NLDS and home-field advantage throughout the postseason. With the way the Braves have been playing this year, it’s safe to say the NL playoffs run through Atlanta.

How they got here: To put it bluntly, the Braves have been far and away the best team in MLB this season. With a nearly 20% chance of winning the World Series, per FanGraphs, and a do-everything star in Ronald Acuña Jr., the Braves have pitched and hit and slugged and defended their way beyond even the highest expectations for this year.

Clinched: NL East title, No. 1 seed

Why you should root for them: They’re becoming baseball’s new final boss.


What’s next: In a season in which many expected the Dodgers to take a step back after a quiet offseason, they have instead continued to do what they do: Cruise past their NL West foes and into the postseason picture. With an extra-innings win Saturday against the Mariners, the Dodgers clinched a ticket to the playoffs and their 10th division title in the past 11 years. They'll be the No. 2 seed in the NL bracket, with a bye to the NLDS.

How they got here: This Dodgers’ season has been anything but smooth, but once again, their depth has carried them through. Injuries abound in the starting rotation, leaving questions about who will pitch for L.A. in the postseason. Those questions have been only further complicated by Julio Urias’ recent arrest for felony domestic violence and the news that Walker Buehler won’t return this season.

Clinched: NL West title, No. 2 seed

Why you should root for them: They make bad players good.


What’s next: After taking the lead in arguably baseball’s strongest division in July, the Orioles clinched their first AL East title since 2014, along with a bye to the ALDS and hosting duties through the AL playoffs, with a win over the Red Sox on Thursday. The Orioles will be the top seed in the AL postseason bracket.

How they got here: One of the most pleasant surprises of the 2023 season, the young, fun, confident Orioles surged to the top of the American League on the strength of a young core blossoming into stars simultaneously. The Orioles haven’t been swept in a series since May 2022, a span that encompasses catcher Adley Rutschman’s entire big-league career.

Clinched: AL East title, No. 1 seed

Why you should root for them: They don’t know how to lose.


What’s next: The Rays weren't able to catch the Orioles for the AL East title and instead settle for the American League's top wild card. For a team that could still win as many as 100 games this season, there is a lot to be optimistic about in October.

How they got here: The Rays started 2023 as hot as any team in recent memory, jumping to an early lead in their division with a 13-0 start. Injuries (particularly to the rotation), attrition and Wander Franco’s legal situation have since taken a toll, but Tampa Bay has remained one of the AL’s top teams.

Clinched: AL wild card, No. 4 seed

Why you should root for them: They’ve never won a World Series.


What’s next: It was division-title-or-bust for the Twins, as some team had to win the moribund AL Central. Minnesota clinched the division and the No. 3 seed in the AL postseason bracket with a win Friday against the Angels. The Twins will host a wild-card series — and at least won’t have to face the Yankees this year.

How they got here: The Twins led their division for most of the season on the strength of a bolstered pitching rotation led by Sonny Gray and Pablo López. On the offensive side, however, there’s much left to be desired, as Carlos Correa hasn’t found his stride, and Byron Buxton is injured yet again.

Clinched: AL Central title, No. 3 seed

Why you should root for them: They’re the underdoggiest underdogs.


What’s next: With the Cubs' loss Tuesday, the Brewers clinched the NL Central title and wild-card hosting duties. Milwaukee held off the Cubs and the Reds to take the division and will be the No. 3 seed in the National League playoff bracket.

How they got here: The Brewers have continued to do what they do best this season, with dominant pitching from both the rotation and the bullpen backed up by juuuust enough offense. The three-headed monster of Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff and Freddy Peralta — with a Devin Williams chaser — has led the way in a division race that has been Milwaukee’s to lose for a while now.

Clinched: NL Central title, No. 3 seed

Why you should root for them: Maybe because you're a Mets fan.


What’s next: With the NL East long since spoken for, the Phillies comfortably led the NL wild-card standings for much of the season. And with a walk-off in extra innings Tuesday, they clinched the NL's top wild card and hosting duties in the first series of the playoffs. Given their run to the World Series last year, be prepared for Philadelphia to again make some noise from wild-card position.

How they got here: Buoyed as usual by a strong cast of hitters, the Phillies are following the familiar formula of prolific home-run power and just enough pitching. Their bullpen will be the question come playoff time, but after a slow start, Trea Turner has gotten scorching hot at just the right time.

Clinched: NL wild card, No. 4 seed

Why you should root for them: They have loads of star power.


What’s next: With the Orioles taking the AL East title and the Rays nabbing the top AL wild-card spot, it’ll be a road wild-card ticket or watching the playoffs from home for Toronto. The Blue Jays are jockeying for position with all three teams in the AL West as the remainder of the wild-card picture shakes out.

How they got here: Toronto started the season with hopes of contending for a division title, but while the season hasn’t entirely gone off the rails, this team never really seemed to be in the division picture. With the Rays and Orioles making the AL East a two-horse race, the Blue Jays are instead competing with most of the AL West for entry into the wild-card field.

Wins needed to clinch:

  • Postseason spot: 2

Why you should root for them: The remaining schedule could work in their favor.


What’s next: With a sweep of the Mariners last weekend (plus the Astros being swept), the Rangers took back the lead in the AL West and are heading toward their first division title since 2016. Featuring divisional battles until the very end of the regular season, this one will go down to the wire. And with the Blue Jays in the AL wild-card mix as well, one AL West team will get a wild card as a consolation prize, while another will likely be left out of the postseason picture.

How they got here: After a speedy and expensive rebuild, the Rangers came out of the gate hot this season and led the division in much of the early going, thanks largely to an offense that looked unstoppable. Then came a late-summer swoon that allowed the Astros and Mariners to catch up in the standings. Now it looks like these three teams will battle it out until the very end of the regular season.

Wins needed to clinch:

  • Postseason spot: 1

  • AL West: 2

Why you should root for them: They only know how to win big.


What’s next: The Astros chased down both the Texas Rangers and the Seattle Mariners to retake their usual place atop the AL West late in the season but are now battling their divisional foes for wild-card position in the final regular-season series. This division goes through Houston until proven otherwise, but the contest will likely go down to the wire, with the Mariners playing the rest of their season against the Rangers and Astros.

How they got here: The Astros started slowly this year and were out of the playoff picture for much of the first half, but after reacquiring Justin Verlander and getting some key players back from injury this summer, baseball’s favorite villains have looked like their usual selves and aren’t a team anyone wants to face in October.

Wins needed to clinch:

  • Postseason spot: 2

Why you should root for them: They can't quit MLB's worst catcher.


What’s next: In a very crowded NL wild-card picture, the Diamondbacks have inched their way up and ahead of the fray in recent weeks. A September sweep of the Cubs helped Arizona move into the No. 5 playoff seed with just a few weeks to go.

How they got here: Led by NL Rookie of the Year candidate Corbin Carroll and Cy Young contender Zac Gallen, the Diamondbacks have surprised many by contending ahead of schedule this season. They actually led the NL West in much of the season’s first half before a summer slump set them back of the Dodgers. Still, Arizona is primed to make the postseason one year after finishing fourth in the division.

Wins needed to clinch:

  • Postseason spot: 1

Why you should root for them: If you like stolen bases.


What’s next: After a sweep last weekend at the hands of the Rangers, the Mariners are just outside the AL playoff picture. With the Rays likely earning the top wild card and the Blue Jays firmly in the mix, the Mariners will need to get some wins against their AL West foes in their final two series (vs. the Astros and vs. the Rangers), plus losses for their competitors, in order to play their way into the postseason picture.

How they got here: It has been an up-and-down season for the Mariners, who wrapped up a sleepy first half by hosting July’s All-Star festivities. Then, led by sophomore superstar Julio Rodriguez, the Mariners launched a scorching-hot August that vaulted them all the way to first in their division before they came back to earth just a bit.

Wins needed to clinch:

  • Postseason spot: 3 + opponent help

Why you should root for them: So 2022 wasn't a fluke.


What’s next: The Cubs are trying to hold on to the final spot in the NL wild-card picture and would love to catch the Diamondbacks to get back to the No. 5 seed. With the division officially claimed by the Brewers, a wild-card berth will be the Cubs' only ticket to the postseason.

How they got here: The Cubs surprised the baseball world by buying at the deadline — and holding on to bounce-back star Cody Bellinger — to assert themselves as 2023 contenders. After making a contest of the NL Central, the Cubs have cooled off in September and fallen behind the Diamondbacks into the third wild card. Still, led by ace Justin Steele and a surprising supporting cast, the Cubs have themselves in playoff position.

Wins needed to clinch:

  • Postseason spot: 3 + opponent help

Why you should root for them: Because you want to support teams “going for it.”


What's next: Did you see the Marlins coming? We certainly didn't. Nonetheless, here they are still in the NL wild-card mix with just a few games left in their season.

How they got here: The Marlins have never really been in contention for the NL East, but they've stayed in the middle of the NL pack overall for most of the season. And now, led by Luis Arraez's bat, the surprising Marlins just might make their way into the postseason.

Wins needed to clinch:

  • Postseason spot: 3

Why you should root for them: You like old-school batting metrics.


AL wild-card round:

  • No. 6 Astros at No. 3 Twins

  • No. 5 Blue Jays at No. 4 Rays

NL wild-card round:

  • No. 6 Marlins at No. 3 Brewers

  • No. 5 Diamondbacks at No. 4 Phillies


  • Astros/Twins at No. 2 Rangers

  • Jays/Rays at No. 1 Orioles


  • Marlins/Brewers at No. 2 Dodgers

  • D-backs/Phillies at No. 1 Braves