2021 playoff image, format and schedule


The 2021 season is underway and we’re starting to get a feel for what the MLB playoffs will look like in October, with several teams emerging as World Series contenders.

Throughout the season we will have updates on the situation in the playoff race for the American League and National League teams. We’ll also be providing playoff previews, which will continue to change as the 2021 season unfolds.

With the All-Star Break arriving here, let’s dive into the latest playoff photo and the MLB playoff schedule.

Bookmark this page for in-season updates on the 2021 MLB Playoff format, schedule and range.

How many teams will advance to the MLB playoffs in 2021?

After expanding the MLB playoffs to 16 teams in 2020, MLB announced the 2021 playoffs would be down to 10 teams with five National League and American League clubs competing for the World Series.

The MLB collective agreement with the players’ union expires on December 1, 2021. When a new collective agreement is signed, the playoffs will likely revert to a 16-team format.

When are the MLB playoffs?

MLB playoffs
Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

With Major League Baseball returning to a 10-team format, the playoffs will begin on Tuesday, October 5. It comes just two days after the end of the 2021 MLB regular season.

  • National League and American League wildcard games: 5-6 Oct
  • American League and National League Division Series: October 7-14
  • NL and AL Championship Series: October 15-24
  • World Series 2021: 26 Oct-3 Nov

MLB Playoff Standings: National League

MLB playoffs
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

No. 1 seed against NL Wild Card Game winner: Giants of San Francisco

Many in San Francisco were optimistic about this club before the start of the season. Competing for the NL West crown was out of the question, but there was at least a decent chance of competing for a place in the Wild Card Game. Heading into All-Star Break, the Giants are the best team in the National League.

Giants of San Francisco

San Francisco’s rotation has the fourth-lowest ERA (3.24) and its collection of unannounced relievers has the third-best relievers ERA (3.33) in the majors. This team will be buyers by the trade deadline and there will be no shortage of bats that could impact the San Francisco lineup. Maybe they don’t end the season atop the NL West, but the Giants are a legitimate contender.

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N ° 2 against N ° 3: Milwaukee Brewers (NL Central) vs. New York Mets (NL East)

The Milwaukee rotating trio of Brandon Woodruff, Corbin Burnes and Freddy Peralta continue to surprise. Frankly, there aren’t many other teams with playoff rotations that we would feel more confident in in October. An excellent pitcher pushed Milwaukee back to the top of the NL Central. With the Cincinnati Reds gaining ground in the division, the Brewers need to do more than add Rowdy Tellez to the roster.

MLB: Colorado Rockies to Milwaukee Brewers

It’s quite remarkable the number of injuries the Mets overcome. Noah Syndergaard and Carlos Carrasco were supposed to be back in a few weeks, but it looks like neither pitchers will be hitting the mound anytime soon. Fortunately for the Mets, there is very little reason to buy the Washington Nationals or the Atlanta Braves. While both teams are expected to return to over 0.500, the Mets are expected to win the NL East by several games.

NL Wild Card Game: Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Diego Padres

At this point, it becomes more and more likely that we’ll see three NL West teams in the MLB playoffs. They each traded places in turn, but injuries largely kept the Dodgers and Padres from outperforming the Giants. If these two SoCal rivals don’t win the division, it sets for an epic Wild Card Game.

Clayton Kershaw. against Yu Darvish, with two of MLB’s top lineups going against each other. MLB really couldn’t ask for much more other than a seven game streak with a trip to the World Series in play. If this is the game we get, it will be one of the most anticipated playoff games in years. .

Syndication: Milwaukee

MLB Playoff Photo: American League

MLB playoffs
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

No. 1 seed against winner of the AL Wild Card Game: Boston Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox snatched the ball’s cover in June. Xander Bogaerts led the team with an outstanding 0.347 / 0.407 / 0.541 slash line, easily claiming a starting spot in the All-Star Game. Rafael Devers posted an OPS of 0.890 with an equally impressive batting average of 0.287. Meanwhile, Hunter Renfroe broke out with a SLG of .504 this month and has won 11.7% of his at-bat appearances. The only aspect of this team that we’re questioning that could cost them in the playoffs, Boston’s starting rotation.

Boston Red Sox

N ° 2 against N ° 3: Chicago White Sox (AL Central) vs. Houston Astros (AL West)

The Chicago White Sox started the weekend with a five-game winning streak and reduced their points differential to triple digits. That’s pretty impressive considering all the injuries (Nick Madrigal, Luis Robert, Eloy Jimenez and Yoan Moncada) this club are facing. Chicago will need to add a second baseman before the MLB trade deadline, ideally a player who can strike in the middle of the order. Once that happens, it could be the best team in the AL.

Houston has seen its incredible winning streak come to an end recently, but it remains one of the best teams in MLB. Keep in mind that Alex Bregman is still on the sidelines and won’t be back for a while. The real driving force behind the Astros’ success is their rotation, which turns out the quality starts almost every night. With the trading season here, the Astros just need to beef up their field.

The fastest pitch ever

AL Wild Card Game: Tampa Bay Rays vs. Oakland Athletics

It would be a fitting game for the MLB playoffs. Two teams that have one of the lowest payrolls in MLB, compete for an opportunity to face the Boston Red Sox in the ALDS. A key point in a potential one-game clash, whether or not the Tampa Bay Rays have Tyler Glasnow.

The Rays and Oakland Athletics both deserve to play in October, but they have significant flaws. Oakland needs to acquire impact sticks, plug holes at the designated hitter and the corner outfield, to have a shot at making the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Rays must find a frontline starter. For now, we would pick the Rays to win this game, but that could change after the MLB trade deadline.

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