If the playoffs started today, these would be the matchups

5:05 AM UTC

As the dog days of summer march on, the playoff picture continues to become more clear.

With roughly 30 regular-season games remaining for each team, the countdown is on as the postseason approaches. While much hasn't changed at the top since our last playoff update -- all six division leaders also held the top spot earlier this month -- we've seen the scorching-hot Mariners flip the script in the competitive AL West.

Elsewhere in the Majors, the NL Wild Card race is shaping up to have a tight finish. Even the Orioles, who have the best record in the AL and have held the division lead in the AL East for over a month, are being tested by a Rays team that is right on their heels. While the postseason picture is starting to materialize, nothing is set in stone, especially with tiebreaker scenarios having the potential to alter the final standings.

Here’s a look at what the postseason would look like if it opened today.

All stats are through Tuesday's games


Byes: Orioles (1) and Rangers (2)

Wild Card series matchups

Astros (6) at Twins (3)

Mariners (5) at Rays (4)

Just missed: Blue Jays (3.5 games out of WC spot)

How about those Seattle Mariners? In our last playoff update, the Mariners were 2.5 games back of a Wild Card spot. They're now in an even tie with the Rangers at the top of the division, although Texas holds the tiebreaker advantage with a 5-to-1 head to head record (those teams play seven more times this year). Seattle is led by an elite pitching staff that leads the Majors with a 3.64 ERA and an offense that has an .818 OPS since July 1, bested only by the Braves and Dodgers. The Orioles, meanwhile, have continued marching along with an AL-best 83-49 record. They were dealt a tough blow with 's UCL injury, but they're still in a great position to grab the top seed in the league.

With a virtual tie at the top of the AL West, the tiebreaker advantage could play a major role down the stretch. As things currently stand, the Rangers hold the advantage with a winning record against the Mariners. However, the Astros have a better head to head record vs. the Rangers, while the Mariners guaranteed the season series against the Astros by going 8-2 in their first 10 games. All three teams still have games remaining against one another, meaning these intradivision games will carry even more weight. With the AL Central race all but set -- the Twins hold a six-game lead over the Guardians -- all eyes will be on the AL divisional and Wild Card standings.

Division Series matchups

Astros (6) or Twins (3) at Rangers (2)

Mariners (5) or Rays (4) at Orioles (1)

When the Orioles last led the AL in wins with 98 in 1997, and were not yet born. That is a good encapsulation of a Baltimore team that is riding its wave of young talent to its best season in years. The latest FanGraphs playoff odds give the Orioles a 2-in-3 chance of winning their division and likely taking the top seed with it.

If the Mariners can find a way to grab the division title, it'd be the first time they held one of the top AL spots since 2001, when they tied an MLB record with 116 wins in a single season. The 2000-01 seasons also represent the last time the Mariners have made consecutive playoff appearances. If the Orioles and Rangers/Mariners manage to hold their current positions, it'd buck the trend of recent dominance at the top-two spots from four teams in the Astros, Yankees, Red Sox and Rays.


Byes: Braves (1) and Dodgers (2)

Wild Card series matchups

Giants (6) at Brewers (3)

Cubs (5) at Phillies (4)

Just missed: D-backs (0.5 game out of WC), Reds (2 games), Marlins (3 games)

There's no questioning who the top two teams are in the National League. Much like it's been for the past half-decade, the Braves and Dodgers stand alone as the top squads in the senior circuit. Atlanta has one of the best and deepest lineups in MLB history, headlined by the superstardom of and 50-HR threat . The Dodgers have a pretty spectacular duo themselves in and , who could make a real shot at NL MVP.

The next-best teams -- the Brewers and Phillies -- also have a stronghold on their current positions. Milwaukee just reeled off a nine-game winning streak, giving them a four-game lead over the Cubs in the NL Central. The Phillies have belted an MLB-leading 57 home runs in August and have grown their lead as the top Wild Card spot to five games. Meanwhile, only three games separate four teams who are battling for the last two Wild Card spots -- the Cubs, Giants, D-backs and Reds.

Division Series matchups

Giants (6) or Brewers (3) at Dodgers (2)

Cubs (5) or Phillies (4) at Braves (1)

The Braves and Dodgers held the top two NL spots last year and have done so in three of the last four seasons prior to this year. This would also mark the sixth straight season where both teams have been in the playoffs. For the Dodgers, this would represent a whopping 11th straight playoff appearance. While both teams are undoubtedly the best in the NL right now, it's a good reminder to look back at the recent playoff history in the senior circuit. Even last year, the 101-win Braves and 111-win Dodgers were sent home in the NLDS.

Who's out from last year?

Blue Jays, Cardinals, Guardians, Mets, Padres, Yankees

It's been a tough season for a plethora of teams who have had recent success and entered the year with lofty expectations. The Padres and Yankees, who both played in each respective league's championship series last year, are tracking to finish well below .500. The Cardinals and Mets, meanwhile, aggressively sold at the Trade Deadline in an obvious push to retool for 2024 and beyond. The Blue Jays have the best shot of this bunch to make it into the playoffs and sit within striking distance of the third Wild Card spot.

Who's new this year?

Brewers, Cubs, Giants, Orioles, Rangers, Twins

As you'd expect from the teams out of the playoff mix, it's been a big year for newcomers looking to make noise in the postseason. As alluded to before, it's been a huge season for the Orioles and Mariners, who are looking to finish as a top-two AL team for the first time in two-plus decades. This would also represent the first Rangers' playoff appearance since 2016 when they had an AL-leading 96 wins.