Follow along with division chases and wild-card races as we count down to October

As the month of September rolls along, we’re counting down to the end of the MLB regular season and following all the races to reach the 2023 postseason.

Below are the teams that have clinched their ticket to October or are within 10 wins (or opponent losses) of doing so, with more to be added in the days and weeks to come, as well as what the postseason would look like if the season ended today.

(All numbers current through play Thursday.)


What’s next: The Braves became the first team to clinch a spot in the 2023 postseason with a win over the Pirates on Sunday, and then they claimed their sixth consecutive division title with a win over the Phillies on Wednesday. Owners of baseball’s best record, the Braves will next look to secure the NL’s top seed, guaranteeing a bye to the NLDS and home-field advantage throughout the postseason. With the way the Braves have been playing this year, it’s a safe bet that the NL playoffs will run through Atlanta.

How they got here: To put it bluntly, the Braves have been far and away the best team in MLB this season. With a nearly 30% chance of winning the World Series, per FanGraphs, and a do-everything star in Ronald Acuña Jr., the Braves have pitched and hit and slugged and defended their way beyond even the highest expectations for this year.

Wins needed to clinch:

Why you should root for them: They’re becoming baseball’s new final boss.


What’s next: The Orioles, who have been atop arguably baseball’s strongest division since July, are seeking their first AL East title since 2014 and the ticket to hosting the ALDS that comes with it. As things stand, Baltimore will be the top seed in the AL postseason picture.

How they got here: One of the most pleasant surprises of the 2023 season, the young, fun, confident Orioles have surged to the top of the American League on the strength of a young core blossoming into stars simultaneously. The Orioles haven’t been swept in a series since May 2022, a span that encompasses catcher Adley Rutschman’s entire big-league career.

Wins needed to clinch:

  • Postseason spot: 3

  • AL East title: 14

Why you should root for them: They don’t know how to lose.


What’s next: In a season in which many expected the Dodgers to take a step back after a quiet offseason, they have instead continued to do what they do: Cruise past their NL West foes and into the postseason picture. With a 13.5-game lead in the division, the Dodgers are well on their way to their 10th division title in the past 11 years.

How they got here: This Dodgers’ season has been anything but smooth, but once again, their depth has carried them through. Injuries abound in the starting rotation, leaving questions about who will pitch for L.A. in the postseason. Those questions have been only further complicated by Julio Urias’ recent arrest for felony domestic violence and the news that Walker Buehler won’t return this season.

Wins needed to clinch:

  • Postseason spot: 4

  • NL West title: 4

Why you should root for them: They make bad players good.


What’s next: The Rays would love to chase down the Orioles for the AL East crown and snag a bye into the ALDS — and could do so with a four-game set this weekend in Baltimore. But even if that doesn’t happen, Tampa Bay is solidly in position to take the AL’s top wild card.

How they got here: The Rays started 2023 as hot as any team in recent memory, jumping to an early lead in their division with a 13-0 start. Injuries (particularly to the rotation), attrition and Wander Franco’s legal situation have since taken a toll, but Tampa Bay has remained one of the AL’s top teams, comfortably above the fray in the wild-card picture.

Wins needed to clinch:

Why you should root for them: They’ve never won a World Series.


What’s next: It’s division-title-or-bust for the Twins, as some team has to win the moribund AL Central. Minnesota currently holds a 7.5-game lead on Cleveland, making for a comfortable ride into the postseason, where the Twins will host a wild-card series — and at least won’t have to face the Yankees this year.

How they got here: The Twins have led their division for most of the season on the strength of a bolstered pitching rotation led by Sonny Gray and Pablo López. On the offensive side, however, there’s much left to be desired, as Carlos Correa hasn’t found his stride, and Byron Buxton is injured yet again.

Wins needed to clinch:

Why you should root for them: They’re the underdoggiest underdogs.


What’s next: Cruising steadily toward the postseason, the Brewers need to fend off the challenging Cubs to secure the NL Central title and wild-card hosting duties. Milwaukee currently sits 4.5 games ahead of Chicago in the standings, and the two teams will play a three-game series to close out the regular season — possibly for all the marbles.

How they got here: The Brewers have continued to do what they do best this season, with dominant pitching from both the rotation and the bullpen backed up by juuuust enough offense. The three-headed monster of Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff and Freddy Peralta — with a Devin Williams chaser — has led the way in a division race that has been Milwaukee’s to lose for a while now.

Wins needed to clinch:

  • Postseason spot: 10

  • NL Central title: 12

Why you should root for them: Maybe because you’re a Mets fan.


AL wild-card round:

NL wild-card round:



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