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Last Updated: October 1, 2021

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The 2021 MLB Postseason Race and the 2021 MLB Playoffs Schedule

Introduction

October means playoff baseball, and October is right around the corner. If you are wondering which teams will be playing in the 2021 MLB playoffs, this complete guide covers the 2021 MLB postseason landscape, and the complete 2021 MLB playoffs schedule (dates).

Including today (Wednesday, September 29th, 2021) there are exactly 5 days of baseball left in the 2021 MLB regular season. Now that we are down to the final home stretch of the Major League Baseball regular season, teams have already or are getting ready to clinch MLB playoff spots.

For some teams it is a winning a division title giving them a straight ride to the division series of the MLB postseason, and for some other teams it is making one of the two wild - card spots in both the American and National League in order to play a single elimination game with the winners advancing to the division series of the MLB playoffs. Plus, don’t forget teams are also battling it out for the rights to home field advantage throughout the MLB postseason this year.

While several teams appear to have their divisions locked down tight in both the American and National Leagues, the wild - card race is wide open in both the AL and NL. The wild – card races will most likely come down to the final week or even the final day or so of the 2021 MLB regular season which ends on Sunday, October 3rd, 2021. There is a possibility we could have some bonus baseball on October 4th if there are any tiebreakers to be played prior to heading into the 2021 MLB playoffs.

Below looks at the latest up to date MLB playoff races in both the American League and National League. It clarifies which teams have clinched a postseason spot, who can clinch a playoff spot next, and the upcoming important series to watch or pay attention to.

Who has already clinched a playoff spot?

The 2 Major League Baseball teams with the best overall MLB records as of now are officially in the 2021 MLB playoffs. The San Francisco Giants (103 – 54) clinched at least a wild - card spot with a 9 to 1 win over the San Diego Padres back on September 13th, 2021. The San Francisco Giants are still locked in a close battle with the Los Angeles Dodgers (101 – 56) to win the National League West division, but those 2 teams with the best 2 records in Major League Baseball so far this season are both guaranteed a playoff spot. The Los Angeles Dodgers clinched their own 2021 MLB postseason berth with an 8 to 4 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks the following day. The only question is which of those teams will go straight to a division series, and which one will face a wild - card single - elimination game this year on Wednesday, October 6th, 2021?

The Milwaukee Brewers clinched at least a wild - card spot with their 6 to 4 win over the Chicago Cubs back on September 18th, 2021. The Milwaukee Brewers then locked down the National League Central title with an 8 to 4 victory over the New York Mets on September 26th, 2021.

The Tampa Bay Rays clinched their third straight playoff spot with a 7 to 1 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on September 22nd, 2021. The Tampa Bay Rays later clinched the American League East division title with a 7 to 3 win over the Miami Marlins on September 25th, 2021, and the Tampa Bay Rays hold the American League’s best overall record at the moment.

The Chicago White Sox clinched the American League Central division and the Chicago White Sox have become the first team to win a division title during the 2021 MLB regular season with their 7 to 2 win over the Cleveland Indians in the first game of a doubleheader on September 23rd, 2021.

The St. Louis Cardinals won their 17th straight game on September 28th, 2021 in a 6 to 2 victory against the Milwaukee Brewers, and the St. Louis Cardinals secured the team's 3rd straight MLB playoff appearance. The St. Louis Cardinals' winning streak is the longest win streak by a National League franchise since the Chicago Cubs won 21 consecutive ball games way back in 1935.

Who can clinch a playoff spot next?

As of the morning of Wednesday, September 29th, 2021 the Houston Astros' magic number to clinch the American League West division of Major League Baseball is currently down to 1.

Key Series to Watch this Week (9 / 29 / 2021 – 10 / 3 / 2021)

New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays - This year's American League wild - card race is quite a wild one. Fresh off of a sweep of their rival Boston Red Sox last weekend, the New York Yankees hope to keep their momentum rolling. Whereas the Toronto Blue Jays entered this week just 2 games behind the New York Yankees and only 1 game behind the Boston Red Sox, and the Toronto Blue Jays look to turn a very streaky and inconsistent New York Yankees team cold once again.

On the other hand, the Oakland Athletics are in Seattle, Washington to play the Seattle Mariners, and neither the Oakland A’s or the Seattle Mariners have been eliminated from the 2021 MLB postseason race yet either.

Philadelphia Phillies at Atlanta Braves - The Saint Louis Cardinals seem to have forgotten how to lose even a single baseball game lately, so if the Philadelphia Phillies want in on October playoff baseball, they are going to need to somehow find a way to win the National League East division. The Philadelphia Phillies have 3 crucial games against the NL East first - place Atlanta Braves that will determine the outcome of their season.

The 2021 Playoff Landscape if the 2021 MLB Regular Season Ended Today (9 / 29 / 2021)

American League

  • AL East champion - Tampa Bay Rays (already clinched division)
  • AL Central champion - Chicago White Sox (already clinched division)
  • AL West champion - Houston Astros
  • First AL Wild Card - New York Yankees
  • Second AL Wild Card - Boston Red Sox

National League

  • NL East champion - Atlanta Braves
  • NL Central champion - Milwaukee Brewers (already clinched division)
  • NL West champion - San Francisco Giants (already clinched playoff berth)
  • First NL Wild Card - Los Angeles Dodgers (already clinched playoff berth)
  • Second NL Wild Card - St. Louis Cardinals (already clinched wild card spot)

2021 MLB Playoff Schedule

Wild - Card Round (single - game elimination)

  • American League Wild Card Game - Tuesday, October 5th, 2021
  • National League Wild Card Game - Wednesday, October 6th, 2021

Divisional Playoff Series (best of five)

American League Divisional Series 1 & 2

  • Game 1 - Thursday, October 7th, 2021
  • Game 2 - Friday, October 8th, 2021
  • Game 3 - Sunday, October 10th, 2021
  • Game 4 - Monday, October 11th, 2021 (if necessary)
  • Game 5 - Wednesday, October 13th, 2021 (if necessary)

National League Divisional Series 1 & 2

  • Game 1 - Friday, October 8th, 2021
  • Game 2 - Saturday, October 9th, 2021
  • Game 3 - Monday, October 11th, 2021
  • Game 4 - Tuesday, October 12th, 2021 (if necessary)
  • Game 5 - Thursday, October 14th, 2021 (if necessary)

Championship Series (best of seven)

American League Championship Series

  • Game 1 - Friday, October 15th, 2021
  • Game 2 - Saturday, October 16th, 2021
  • Game 3 - Monday, October 18th, 2021
  • Game 4 - Tuesday, October 19th, 2021
  • Game 5 - Wednesday, October 20th, 2021 (if necessary)
  • Game 6 - Friday, October 22nd, 2021 (if necessary)
  • Game 7 - Saturday, October 23rd, 2021 (if necessary)

National League Championship Series

  • Game 1 - Saturday, October 16th, 2021
  • Game 2 - Sunday, October 17th, 2021
  • Game 3 - Tuesday, October 19th, 2021
  • Game 4 - Wednesday, October 20th, 2021
  • Game 5 - Thursday, October 21st, 2021 (if necessary)
  • Game 6 - Saturday, October 23rd, 2021 (if necessary)
  • Game 7 - Sunday, October 24th, 2021 (if necessary)

World Series (best of seven)

  • Game 1 - Tuesday, October 26th, 2021
  • Game 2 - Wednesday, October 27th, 2021
  • Game 3 - Friday, October 29th, 2021
  • Game 4 - Saturday, October 30th, 2021
  • Game 5 - Sunday, October 31st, 2021 (if necessary)
  • Game 6 - Tuesday, November 2nd, 2021 (if necessary)
  • Game 7 - Wednesday, November 3rd, 2021 (if necessary)

Sources:

“MLB Standings 2021”, espn.com, September 29, 2021.


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