With a little over seven weeks to go – 51 days to be precise – the MLB postseason picture is starting to take shape.
On Monday, the league released its much anticipated postseason schedule. The race for the World Series will begin on Friday, October 7.
A fair chunk of the regular season still remains, but we are starting to have an idea of which teams are likely to make it.
Hypothetically, if the 2022 MLB postseason starts today, this is what the tournament bracket would look like.
The new postseason format involves 12 teams (six from each league), an increase from 10 teams in the previous structure. Three division winners and three Wild Card teams per league will be making up the quota.
MLB Twitter presents a world of postseason possibilities
The first round of the 2022 MLB postseason will be a best-of-three Wild Card series on either side of the spectrum. Contesting that series will be the third-best division winner on either side (No. 3 seed) and the three Wild Card teams.
The team with the best record among Wild Card teams will be the No. 4 seed. The second-best record holder will be seeded No. 5, and the third-best Wild Card team will be No. 6. The third seed will take on the sixth seed, while the fourth and fifth seed will make up the other pairing.
The winner of No. 3 vs. No. 6 (currently Guardians v Blue Jays) will be taking on the current No. 2 seed, the New York Yankees. Given that the Yankees held the MLB’s best record not too long ago, their seed-position drop shows how far they have regressed in recent weeks.
Awaiting the winner of No. 4 vs. No. 6 (currently Mariners v Rays) will be AL’s best record-holder, the Houston Astros. The two ALDS winners will then square off for the ALCS in a seven-match set.
On the National League side of things, the St. Louis Cardinals are currently No. 3, and awaiting them are the No. 6 San Diego Padres. Current fourth seed Atlanta Braves and fifth seed Philadelphia Phillies will close out the Wild Card bracket.
The winner of No. 3 vs. No. 6 (currently Cardinals v Padres) will face the No. 2 seed, the New York Mets. Owing to the Mets’ 13-1 drubbing at the hands of the Atlanta Braves last night, a few fans couldn’t resist having a cheap shot.
The MLB’s benchmark team this season, the Los Angeles Dodgers, will be taking on the winner of No. 4 vs. No. 5 (currently Braves v Phillies). The two NLDS winners will then square off for the NLCS crown.
The ALDS and NLDS winners will be locking horns to determine the 2022 World Series champion. The seven-match set will begin on Oct. 28 and conclude on Nov. 5, making it the latest postseason game in MLB history.
However, there is still a lot left to be played for between now and Oct. 7. This hypothetical bracket is a reflection of how things may stand, but is by no means definitive.
Things can change very quickly, especially on the Wild Card front. What we do know for certain is that we are in for a nerve-racking yet exciting finish, maybe one for the ages.