MLB wild-card standings, playoff picture, bracket update: Massive four-team tiebreaker scenario still in play

The 2018 MLB regular season ends Sunday, meaning the postseason is now only one week away. There are still plenty of postseason races that have to be decided between now and then.

With that in mind, here is an update on the current postseason picture. Here is the SportsLine Projection System and here are the current postseason fields.

If the season ended today ...

Make sure to check out SportsLine's daily pick sheet for insight about every game.

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Mike Meredith/CBS Sports

AL East champ: Red Sox (105-51)

  • Games remaining: 6 (6 Home, 0 Away)
  • Remaining opponent's winning percentage: .457
  • SportsLine's pennant odds: 31.9 percent
  • SportsLine's World Series odds: 18.1 percent

The Red Sox have already clinched the AL East title, and, with one more win or one more Astros loss, they will clinch the best record in baseball and thus home-field advantage throughout the postseason. The final week of the regular season will be stress-free in Boston.

AL Central champ: Indians (87-68)

  • Games remaining: 7 (0 Home, 7 Away)
  • Remaining opponent's winning percentage: .378
  • SportsLine's pennant odds: 25.4 percent
  • SportsLine's World Series odds: 11.9 percent

Not only have the Indians already clinched the AL Central title, they've also clinching having a worse record than the AL West winner, so they know they'll be the road team in the ALDS. Cleveland's locked into their postseason spot. The only thing left to do now is pad their record in hopes of getting home-field advantage in the World Series.

AL West leader: Astros (98-57)

  • Games remaining: 7 (0 Home, 7 Away)
  • Remaining opponent's winning percentage: .384
  • SportsLine's pennant odds: 23.2 percent
  • SportsLine's World Series odds: 11.6 percent

The Astros have not yet clinched the AL West title, but they have a five-game lead in the loss column with seven games remaining, so their magic number is three. Houston has already clinched a postseason spot, so they know that, at worst, they will be the second wild-card team. Also, the Astros are on the verge of becoming the first team with back-to-back 100-win seasons since the 2004-05 Cardinals, and that is pretty darn cool.

AL wild card leader: Yankees (95-60)

  • Games remaining: 7 (0 Home, 7 Away)
  • Remaining opponent's winning percentage: .623
  • SportsLine's pennant odds: 13.2 percent
  • SportsLine's World Series odds: 7.3 percent

The Yankees have already clinched a postseason spot and they are now trying to lock up home-field advantage in the Wild Card Game. Because they hold the tiebreaker over the A's -- they split the season series 3-3, so now the tiebreaker is intradivision record, and the Yankees are 39-30 against the AL East while the Athletics are 35-35 against the AL West -- the magic number to clinch the top wild-card spot is five. The Yankees have a brutal schedule this week (four at Rays and three at Red Sox), so clinching home-field advantage in the Wild Card Game won't be easy.

AL wild card runner-up: Athletics (94-62)

  • Games remaining: 6 (0 Home, 6 Away)
  • Remaining opponent's winning percentage: .507
  • SportsLine's pennant odds: 6.3 percent
  • SportsLine's World Series odds: 2.3 percent

The A's missed a chance to clinch a postseason spot at home Sunday, though their magic number is still one, so they're in with their next win or the next Rays loss. Also, the Athletics are two games behind the Yankees in the loss column for home-field advantage in the Wild Card Game, though they are effectively three games back because New York holds the tiebreaker. A postseason spot is in the bag at this point. Securing the top wild-card spot will require a bit more work.

AL teams on the outside looking in

  • Rays: 87-68 (<1.0 postseason odds per SportsLine)

Tampa Bay is the only AL team currently outside the postseason field that is still mathematically alive. Unfortunately, the Rays have to win all their remaining games and the A's have to lose all their remaining games just to force a Game 163 tiebreaker. At this point the Rays can not outright win a postseason spot during the 162-game regular season. They'll need a tiebreaker game to get in.


NL East champ: Braves (88-68)

  • Games remaining: 6 (0 Home, 6 Away)
  • Remaining opponent's winning percentage: .501
  • SportsLine's pennant odds: 11.1 percent
  • SportsLine's World Series odds: 3.9 percent

The Braves have already clinched their first division title since 2013, so now all that's left is trying to clinch home-field advantage in the NLDS. Their magic number to do so is six.

NL Central leader: Cubs (91-64)

  • Games remaining: 7 (7 Home, 0 Away)
  • Remaining opponent's winning percentage: .486
  • SportsLine's pennant odds: 22.1 percent
  • SportsLine's World Series odds: 9.1 percent

The Brewers refuse to go away quietly, but, with a week to go in the regular season, the Cubs have a three-game lead in the loss column and a magic number of five. Not clinched yet, but they are in good shape.

NL West leader: Dodgers (87-69)

  • Games remaining: 6 (0 Home, 6 Away)
  • Remaining opponent's winning percentage: .503
  • SportsLine's pennant odds: 44.9 percent
  • SportsLine's World Series odds: 28.7 percent

The NL West race is still very much a race. The Rockies are one game behind the Dodgers in the loss column, though these two teams do not meet again this season. Here are their remaining schedules:

Both clubs are facing non-contenders the rest of the way. Do you prefer the D-Backs and Giants on the road, or the Phillies and Nationals at home? I think I'd go with the D-Backs and Giants on the road, but who knows. Baseball can be weird sometimes. Point is, the Rockies are still alive in the NL West race with a week to play. The Dodgers have a magic number of six.

NL wild card leader: Brewers (89-67)

  • Games remaining: 6 (3 Home, 3 Away)
  • Remaining opponent's winning percentage: .452
  • SportsLine's pennant odds: 7.4 percent
  • SportsLine's World Series odds: 2.5 percent

The Brewers have not clinched a postseason spot yet. Their magic number to do so is four. In the loss column, they're two games up on the Cardinals for the top wild-card spot and three games up on the Rockies for a wild-card spot in general. The Brewers are also three games behind the Cubs in the NL Central. Is a division title possible? Yes. Unlikely? Also yes. For now, Milwaukee is in good shape to host the NL Wild Card Game next Tuesday.

NL wild card runner-up: Cardinals (87-69)

  • Games remaining: 6 (3 Home, 3 Away)
  • Remaining opponent's winning percentage: .560
  • SportsLine's pennant odds: 10.9 percent
  • SportsLine's World Series odds: 3.5 percent

The Cardinals have not yet been mathematically eliminated in the NL Central race -- their elimination number is three with six games to play -- though crazy things can happen. They will play three games against the Cubs to close out the regular season, after all. Realistically though, the Cardinals are focusing on securing a wild-card spot. They're two games behind the Brewers for the top spot and one game up on the Rockies for the second spot. The Cardinals will host the Brewers for three games this week. Needless to say, that is an enormous series for both clubs.

It should also be noted it is still possible for a four-team tie scenario with the Brewers, Cardinals, Dodgers, and Rockies all finishing with the same record. In that case, we'd get a massive tiebreaker scenario. Here's how this four-team tie scenario would play out:

  • Dodgers vs. Rockies for NL West title
  • Cardinals vs. Brewers for one wild-card spot
  • Dodgers-Rockies loser vs. Cardinals-Brewers loser for other wild card spot

The NL Wild Card Game is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 2. How MLB would squeeze those three tiebreaker games and the Wild Card Game into two days, I'll never know. But I hope we get to find out!

NL teams on the outside looking in

  • Rockies: 85-70 (24.0 postseason odds per SportsLine)

That's it. The Rockies are the only NL team outside the postseason field that is still mathematically alive. They are one game behind both the Dodgers (in the NL West) and Cardinals (for the second wild-card spot) in the loss column, so Colorado is still very much alive in this thing. But, since they have no head-to-head games remaining with the Dodgers or Cardinals (or Brewers), they'll need some help to qualify for the postseason. Their elimination number is six in both the division and wild card races.

CBS Sports Writer

Mike Axisa joined CBS Sports in 2013. He has been a member of the BBWAA since 2015 and has previously written about both fantasy baseball and real life baseball for MLBTradeRumors.com, FanGraphs.com, RotoAuthority.com,... Full Bio

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