What every MLB contender needs to do from here to October

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

New York Yankees? Goodbye and good night. Los Angeles Angels? See you next season ... with or without Shohei Ohtani. San Diego Padres? We're crossing you off the list; too many teams to climb over. That still leaves 17 teams in the postseason picture -- 18 if you want to count the Cleveland Guardians, but until they get to .500 we're going to ignore them.

So, here's what each of those 17 teams needs to do between now and October.

National League

1. Atlanta Braves: Secure the No. 1 seed

Ever since they thundered through June with a 21-4 record, it seemed fait accompli that the Braves would end up with the best record not only in the NL but across the majors. The Dodgers' hot month in August has put a little pressure on them, so manager Brian Snitker continues to ride his regulars as Ronald Acuna Jr., Matt Olson and Austin Riley have yet to miss a game (and neither had Ozzie Albies until he landed on the injured list last week). Expect that group to post every day, while the Braves perhaps back off the workload of their top pitchers a bit. They have actually been pretty cautious there all season. Spencer Strider, for example, has made just six starts on four days of rest, with three of those coming in April.