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2020 MLB playoffs: Wild-card standings, playoff picture and postseason format

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Who has the best rotation for MLB's postseason? (1:44)

Chipper Jones, Rick Sutcliffe and Jon Sciambi explain why the Reds, Indians and Brewers respectively have dangerous rotations heading into MLB's postseason. (1:44)

The 2020 MLB playoffs are just a couple of days away, and the 16-team postseason field is set. The compressed 60-game schedule came down to the final weekend, and the MLB standings were tight heading to the finish, with wild-card positioning, postseason seeding and the rest of the playoff picture at stake.

As has been the case with so much this season, the playoffs will have a new look, with an expanded format that includes 16 teams for the first time in MLB history.

Jump to: Playoff field | Playoff debates

Key links: Standings | Play: Playoff Baseball Pick 'Em

The 16-team playoff bracket

The matchups: Here's what the first round of the expanded playoffs will look like:

Best-of-three series, higher seed is home team

AMERICAN LEAGUE
No. 1 Rays vs. No. 8 Blue Jays
No. 2 A's vs. No. 7 White Sox
No. 3 Twins vs. No. 6 Astros
No. 4 Indians vs. No. 5 Yankees

NATIONAL LEAGUE
No. 1 Dodgers vs. No. 8 Brewers
No. 2 Braves vs. No. 7 Reds
No. 3 Cubs vs. No. 6 Marlins
No. 4 Padres vs. No. 5 Cardinals


Who is in?

Los Angeles Dodgers

The overwhelming preseason favorites clinched the NL's top postseason seed and their eighth consecutive division title.

Dodgers must-read: How A.J. and Kate Pollock faced their daughter's premature birth during the COVID-19 pandemic

Chicago White Sox

The White Sox clinched their first playoff berth since 2008. It will be the 10th postseason appearance in the history of the franchise, which dates to 1903.

Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays clinched the sixth postseason appearance in franchise history and their second in a row, as well as their first AL East title since 2010. Last year, Tampa Bay beat Oakland in the AL wild-card game and lost to Houston in the division series.

Oakland Athletics

The A's punched their third straight postseason ticket with a win over the Giants, then clinched the AL West three days later.

A's must-read: Inside the A's dominance and how they plan to make it last

Minnesota Twins

The Twins clinched their third postseason appearance in the past four seasons. Last year, they were swept by the Yankees in the division series, extending their postseason losing streak to 16 games since their most recent win in Game 1 of the 2004 AL Division Series.

San Diego Padres

The Padres clinched their first postseason appearance since 2006 when they came back to beat the Mariners in extra innings 7-4 after fending off a no-hit bid.

Padres must-read: How Padres GM A.J. Preller decided to go for it

New York Yankees

Although they took a beating on Sunday in Boston, the Yankees clinched a playoff spot when the Padres beat the Mariners.

Yankees must-read: Yankees ace Gerrit Cole has a HR problem

Atlanta Braves

Even before they finished their game against the Marlins on Tuesday, the Braves clinched their third straight NL East title when the Phillies were swept in their doubleheader against the Nationals. In both of the previous two seasons, the Braves failed to advance beyond the division series.

Braves must-read: Why a Braves-White Sox World Series would be extra special

Cleveland Indians

Powered by Jose Ramirez's three-run home run in the bottom of the 10th inning against the White Sox, Cleveland clinched its return to the postseason after missing out on October in 2019, which snapped a streak of three consecutive playoff appearances.

Chicago Cubs

The Cubs snapped a one-season hiatus from the postseason and got rookie manager David Ross' team to October in his first year in the dugout.

Cubs must-read: Inside Yu Darvish's return to elite status as the Cubs' ace

Toronto Blue Jays

The Jays earned their first postseason berth since 2016 on Thursday with their win over the Yankees behind their top starter, Hyun-Jin Ryu.

Miami Marlins

The Marlins didn't just clinch their first season of .500 or better since 2009. They also earned their first appearance in the postseason since they won the 2003 World Series by beating the same team Friday that they beat then: the Yankees, the only team that Miami manager Don Mattingly played for in his career.

Marlins must-read: How Olympic speedskater Eddy Alvarez made it to the show

Cincinnati Reds

The Reds clinched through a combination of circumstance and scheduling on Friday, beating the Twins for their 30th win while the Brewers and Phillies took their 30th losses, securing Cincinnati's spot through victory and tiebreaker advantages.

Houston Astros

Despite suffering a 5-4 walk-off loss to the Rangers, the Astros backed into the postseason on Friday while falling to .500 when the Dodgers -- irony alert -- clobbered the Angels to secure Houston's spot on the AL postseason slate. The Astros become the fifth team that manager Dusty Baker has skippered into the postseason in his remarkable career.

Astros must-read: Why Verlander's injury marks beginning of the end of Astros' sad legacy

St. Louis Cardinals

Despite playing just 58 games this season, the Cardinals secured a playoff spot based on their winning percentage with a Sunday victory over the visiting Milwaukee Brewers

Milwaukee Brewers

A loss to the Cardinals in Sunday's regular-season finale didn't keep the Brewers out of the playoff field thanks to losses by both the Giants and Phillies.

Pennant race debate: Which player are you most excited to see this postseason?

David Schoenfield: Shane Bieber. The Indians haven't won the World Series since 1948, and they are hardly the favorites to win the American League, but Bieber is the pitcher most likely to have a Madison Bumgarner-in-2014 type of run and carry an otherwise mediocre team to the title.

Joon Lee: Tim Anderson finds himself in the middle of a chase not only with DJ LeMahieu for his second straight batting title but also with Cleveland Indians hurler Shane Bieber and teammate Jose Abreu for the American League MVP. Anderson is the heart and soul of the insurgent White Sox, and the 27-year-old shortstop will be making the first playoff appearance of his career. When considering those circumstances, his penchant for bringing excitement and flair to the field, and his dynamic bat at the top of the lineup on the South Side, Anderson figures to make a sizable impression with the eyes of baseball fans nationwide squarely focused on the young and exciting White Sox squad.

Sam Miller: Yu Darvish hasn't appeared in the postseason since his disastrous pair of starts in the 2017 World Series, and in the ensuing period, he has changed teams, gotten hurt, been a bust, added yet another pitch and once more become -- surprisingly but not too surprisingly -- one of the world's five best starting pitchers. He has never had the control over his arsenal that he has now, and nobody is more of a threat to throw a no-hitter in any given start. Darvish doesn't need to redeem himself for the 2017 World Series -- his career is so much more than those two starts -- but it'll be really satisfying to watch him play the ace this October.

Bradford Doolittle: In both 1997 (Livan Hernandez) and 2003 (Josh Beckett), the Marlins' championship runs were fueled by a hot, emergent pitcher. Although I'm not predicting that Miami will go on a title romp if it gets into the playoffs, Sixto Sanchez could be that kind of emergent pitcher for the team this October. Both his traditional results and his Statcast metrics are elite, and he could be going up against a club that has never seen him in the opener of a best-of-three series. That opponent could end up being the Dodgers.

Alden Gonzalez: Sixto Sanchez because I don't think anybody has an answer for him at the moment.