MLB playoff picture, postseason bracket: Wild Card matchups set; Yankees-Cleveland, Dodgers-Brewers, more

MLB playoff picture, postseason bracket: Wild Card matchups set; Yankees-Cleveland, Dodgers-Brewers, more
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USATSI

Major League Baseball’s 60-game regular season wrapped up Sunday, meaning baseball’s 2020 playoff picture has been finalized. Two playoff spots in the NL remained up for grabs entering the final day, with the Cardinals, Giants, Phillies and Brewers vying for those slots. In the AL, the Central was the only division without a certain winner. All those threads tied themselves together on Sunday, giving us a clear view of the postseason picture.

Here are the eight matchups from the Wild Card Series, which will begin on Tuesday with four games on the AL side of the bracket. The NL side will begin play on Wednesday. There will be no days off during these rounds, meaning there will be eight games played on Wednesday and potentially that many on Thursday as well.

American League

No. 1 Rays vs. No. 8 Blue Jays
No. 2 Athletics vs. No. 7 White Sox
No. 3 Twins vs. No. 6 Astros
No. 4 Cleveland vs. No. 5 Yankees

National League

No. 1 Dodgers vs. No. 8 Brewers
No. 2 Braves vs. No. 7 Reds
No. 3 Cubs vs. No. 6 Marlins
No. 4 Padres vs. No. 5 Cardinals

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The playoffs start Tuesday.
CBS Sportsd

The top three seeds are the division winners and the next three seeds are the second-place teams. The final two spots went to the remaining teams with the best records. The first round (Wild Card Series) is a best-of-three series with all three games at the higher seed’s ballpark. The second round (LDS) is a best-of-five and the final two rounds (LCS and World Series) are best-of-sevens.

Aside from locking in home-field advantage in the Wild Card Round, there was no real benefit to winning the division this season. There’s no one-and-done Wild Card Game to avoid, and even home-field advantage is less of an advantage because fans will not be allowed into ballparks during the postseason, at least during the early rounds. Batting last is a real benefit, but that’s about it for home-field advantage. 

It is important to note MLB did not play any tiebreaker games this season to allow for an expedited postseason schedule. All ties were resolved mathematically, even if two teams finish with identical records for the No. 8 seed. Here’s how MLB broke ties this year:

  1. Head-to-head record (if applicable).
  2. Intradivision record.
  3. Record in final 20 division games (plus one until the tie is broken).

MLB will play the LDS, LCS and World Series in a bubble. The American League bubble will be in Southern California (Dodger Stadium and Petco Park) while the National League bubble will be in Texas (Globe Life Field and Minute Maid Park). The World Series will be played at the Rangers’ Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.

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