After six long months of play, Major League Baseball’s 2023 regular season has come to an end. Before the playoffs start, let’s recap where we stand going in.
National League East
Before the season started, everyone expected the NL East battle to go down to the wire. That didn’t happen. Instead, the Atlanta Braves claimed their sixth straight victory in the NL East, almost without challenge.
The Braves were the first team this year to clinch a playoff berth, and currently boast the best record in the Major Leagues at 104-57. As for the rest of the NL East, both the Philadelphia Phillies and the Miami Marlins have clinched a wildcard spot. The New York Mets and the Washington Nationals, on the other hand, have ended the season with more losses than wins.
National League Central
The Milwaukee Brewers clinched their division title this year following the Braves’ come-from-behind win against the NL Central’s second-place Chicago Cubs. This race was a little tighter than the NL East, with the Cubs and the Cincinnati Reds fighting until the very end.
Eventually, the Brewers came away with the title, possibly due to their easy September schedule, and neither the Cubs nor the Reds managed to claim a wildcard spot. The remaining teams, the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals, have both come away from the season with losing records and will look to improve for next year.
National League West
The Los Angeles Dodgers have won the NL West for the 10th time in the last 11 years. Their 99-62 record has earned them second place in the NL and a bye into the second round of the playoffs.
Before the season, some speculated that the San Diego Padres might usurp them, but the Dodgers have played a great season to prove that they are the best in the West. The Arizona Diamondbacks are in second place and have the third wildcard spot, but the rest of the division seasons are over due to their losing records.
American League East
The AL East was supposed to be just as much of a battleground as its NL counterpart — and this division actually delivered. Despite the New York Yankees having a rough year, the Tampa Bay Rays, the Toronto Blue Jays, and the Baltimore Orioles have played excellently all season.
The final standings hinged on the Orioles and Rays, with the former clinching the division lead on Thursday. The Orioles division title marks their first since 2014, and their first 100 win season since 1980. The Rays and the Blue Jays will still be in the playoffs having claimed a wildcard spot each. The Yankees, and the below .500 Boston Red Sox have been eliminated from contention.
American League Central
The Minnesota Twins have been in first place for almost the entire season, and continued that by clinching their division title last week. The Twins were the best of the worst division in baseball, managing to win the AL Central with a record of 87-74. The other four teams in the Central have been eliminated, making them the only division with no one in the wildcard race. Looking to the playoffs, the Twins have an 18 game postseason losing streak, the longest active streak in North American professional sports. They haven’t won a playoff game since 2004, before any of their current players were in the majors. The Twins have been playing well going into the end of the season, but a streak like that is hard to overcome.
American League West
The AL West crown came down to the very last game, but in the end it will be the Houston Astros who come away with the title and receive a bye through the first round of the playoffs. The Astros and the Texas Rangers each ended with a record of 90-72, but the Astros hold the tiebreaker over the Rangers as they beat them in the season series. The Rangers will still be in the playoffs as they hold the second wildcard spot. The rest of the division has been eliminated from playoff contention, although the Seattle Mariners were in the wildcard race until the very end.
With some of baseball’s biggest stars, this year’s playoffs are sure to be games to remember. First round is the wildcard round, which starts on Oct. 3. Make sure to tune in to ABC or ESPN to watch the action.