Category Archives: MLB

2023 MLB Playoffs: Matchups, Storylines, Preview

With the final weekend of the 2023 MLB regular season beginning to wind down, the baseball world shifts its focus to the MLB playoffs. This is undoubtedly the most exciting time of the year, and this year’s postseason doesn’t look any different. With that in mind, let’s take a complete look at the playoff picture.

Photo Credit: Chris Coduto/Getty Images

First Round Byes

Here is where we find the cream of the crop in both leagues. These four teams won’t have to worry about the Wild Card round, and will secure home-field advantage in the division series.

In the AL, the Orioles and Astros earned first-round byes. The Orioles were easily the best team in the AL this year, being the only team to win more than 100 games. They’re followed by the Astros, who are now a familiar face in the postseason.

In the NL, two familiar faces in the Braves and Dodgers earn the two byes. Both of these teams have gone on deep playoff runs recently, and both figure to be a threat to win it all this year.

MLB Playoffs Matchups

In the second year under the new MLB playoffs format, there will be two Wild Card series in each league. Each series is a best-of-three, with all three games being hosted by whichever team has home-field advantage. Here are those series.

American League

Toronto Blue Jays (89-73) @ Minnesota Twins (87-75)

Texas Rangers (90-72) @ Tampa Bay Rays (99-63)

National League

Arizona Diamondbacks (84-78) @ Milwaukee Brewers (92-70)

Miami Marlins (84-77) @ Philadelphia Phillies (90-72)

2023 MLB Playoffs Storylines

Where are the Yankees?

One of the biggest storylines all season long was New York’s fall from prominence. The Yankees were still near the Wild Card race towards the end of the year, but they didn’t sniff the playoffs once for the final couple months of the season. The AL looks a little different this October without the Yanks.

New Faces On the Block

This season saw a lot of teams accelerate their rebuilds to new heights. In the AL, the Orioles made a massive jump, finishing with the best record in the entire league — a steep climb from their 2022 campaign. The Rangers flurry of moves over the past couple of years paid off, as well, as they finished with the second-best record in the AL.

In the National league, there were a lot of familiar teams, but the Diamondbacks and Marlins each found their way back into October baseball. The Reds and Cubs were also in the race throughout the year, but barely missed the cut.

Seeing all these new teams in the playoffs will be very exciting. We’ll see if any of them can pull off an upset.

Will the Twins Finally Win a Playoff Game?

Ready for an absolutely flabbergasting stat? The Minnesota Twins have lost their last 18 MLB playoffs games! Their last playoff win came in 2004, against the Yankees in Game 1 of the ALDS.

Minnesota doesn’t seem like the biggest threat right now. Although they won their division, Minnesota’s 87-75 record would leave them sitting out of the playoffs if they were in the Wild Card race. Because of this, the Blue Jays will come into Minnesota looking like the favorite to win the series. The Twins will have home field advantage, though.

This year might not be the easiest, but it seems like a decent chance for Minnesota to end this drought.

Will This be the Year the Braves Dynasty Starts to Take Over?

The Braves underwent a massive rebuild over half a decade ago, and it’s already reaped some massive rewards. Atlanta made two straight NLDS appearances in 2018-19, and nearly beat the Dodgers in the 2020 NLCS. They followed that up with a World Series title in 2021.

After a disappointing exit in 2022, Atlanta looks like the clear #1 threat for the World Series crown right now. They look dominant in nearly every way, and should be easy favorites in the NL. If they win a World Series this year, could this be the beginning of a dynasty?

MLB Playoffs: Most Exciting Playoff Races in September

As we enter the month of September, we also enter the final full month of the 2023 MLB season. At this point in the year, each team knows exactly what’s at stake. Some teams are out of the hunt, while others gear up for a push to the postseason. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the most interesting races for the MLB playoffs.

Photo Credit: Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

AL East

The AL East is arguably the most competitive division in all of baseball this year. Up until a little while ago, all five teams had a winning record. Currently, the worst team, the Yankees, are just one game below .500.

Currently, the newest team on the scene is the Baltimore Orioles. They lead by three games with an 85-51 record. Still, the Rays are hot on their tail. Both of these teams are excellent in nearly every aspect, and this will be one of the most exciting races to watch. Will the newcomer Orioles have the poise to hold on, and likely secure a first-round bye? Only time will tell.

AL West

On the other side of the country, the western section of the American League has been very interesting.

Texas has led this group for most of the season, yet have gone on a skid as of late, and sit one game off the pace. The Astros have been holding steady all year long, and their persistence has them tied for first.

Meanwhile, Seattle has risen from the ashes, and currently hold a share of the division lead. After a rough first half to the season, they’ve gone on a tear, and have formed an exciting three-team race for the division as the year winds down.

NL Central

This race features a mix of old faces and new. None of these three teams stand out among the rest of the NL, yet all three are a team you’d want to avoid in the first round of the playoffs.

Leading the division is Milwaukee with a 76-61 record, led by their impressive pitching staff. The Cubs, like Seattle, burst onto the scene during the second half of the year. They’re just 2.5 games off the pace at this point.

Finally, there’s Cincinnati. The Reds have slowed down as of late, after a run to start the season that had them leading the division for quite a while. They’ve fallen back to reality, and sit just four games above .500, sitting 5.5 games behind the Brew Crew.

AL Wild Card

With just a month left, we can get a pretty good look at how the Wild Card race might end up. It seems whoever finishes second in AL East will get the first Wild Card spot, as Tampa Bay is currently over five games ahead of the Astros.

After that, currently the second and third-place teams in the West hold the remaining two spots. The Blue Jays are only half a game behind Texas for the third spot. The next closest team is Boston, at 4.5 games back.

NL West

This Wild Card race is much, much more interesting. The Phillies currently hold the first spot, five games clear. They’re followed by the Cubs, who have a narrower, three game cushion. Finally, the D-backs, who sit at 71-67, are just one game ahead of Cincinnati for the final Wild Card spot.

As I just mentioned, the Reds are the first team out of the race. Miami is right on their tail, at just a half a game back. The only other team close is San Francisco, who sits a full game out. This is a race that has been infected by new, young teams, and is much more exciting than usual for that very reason.

Current Playoff Matchups (At time of writing)


First round byes: Orioles (1), Mariners (2)

Wild Card matchups: Rangers (6) @ Twins (3), Astros (5) @ Rays (4)


First round byes: Braves (1), Dodgers (2)

Wild Card matchups: D-backs (6) @ Brewers (3), Cubs (5) @ Phillies (4)

MLB Trade Deadline Winners and Losers

The MLB trade deadline has come and gone, and with it, we see a new look at the playoff races in each league. The good teams stocked up for a pennant chase, while the bottom-dwellers sold in hopes of a better future. Today, we’ve got not one, but two writers bringing you their MLB trade deadline winners and losers. First up is Jake Brockhoff with four winners and four losers from the deadline.

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The Rangers are certainly enjoying their jump to contention in 2023. Texas jumped on the scene in the AL this year, and once held a several-game lead on the Astros in the West. They’ve struggled recently, but remain tied. Perhaps those struggles influenced some of their big moves at the deadline.

Texas landed Max Scherzer, Jordan Montgomery, Aroldis Chapman, Chris Stratton and Austin Hedges before the deadline expired. Their offense was fine, but pitching remained an issue, so the overwhelming amount of pitching acquired here makes sense. They were as aggressive as they needed to be, and have set themselves up well for October.

Jack Flaherty

Flaherty has been solid in 2023, but it hasn’t been his best year. He owns a 4.43 ERA, 106 strikeouts and a WHIP of 1.55. Those stats aren’t going to jump off the page, but compared to most of the starters dealt during the deadline, Flaherty looks like a pretty solid option.

In his last five starts, Flaherty owns an ERA of just 3.03. He’s been impressive as of late. Jack’s exit from the Cardinals team that seems to be on the down-turn, to an Orioles team that is very much on the rise makes him a winner at this deadline.


Two weeks ago, the Cubs looked like certain seller’s at this year’s deadline. They were well out of the playoff race, and hopes of a late resurrection seemed over. That was until near double-digit winning streak, and an 8-2 record in their past 10 games gave them a winning record, and placed Chicago just a couple games out off the division and wild-card races

The Cubs weren’t big buyers at the deadline, but they did land Jeimer Candelario, one of the best bats on the market. Their division rivals, the Brewers and Reds, failed to make any major moves themselves as well. The combination of these two lands the Cubbies in the winners section.


The defending champs have gone on a run over the past month, erasing the Rangers’ lead on the division.

A Justin Verlander reunion makes everyone in Texas (besides Rangers’ fans) happy. With Justin in the mix, the Astros rotation feels complete. Texas had their chance to put this team away, and they squandered it. With that in mind, plus the addition of Verlander, the AL West division is anyone’s grabs.



The Yankee’s have been losers in several ways this season. The competitive nature of the AL East seems to have passed them by. A division the pinstripes once had a hold on has now left them in last place with a 55-52.

New York must not feel that luck is on their side. Their record would currently put them in first in the AL Central, a much better fortune than the one they currently own. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Their inability to make any meaningful additions at the MLB trade deadline didn’t help.


No matter how this season finishes out, the Orioles can definitely look at this season as a win. Baltimore went from the cellar of the American League to one of the best teams in all of baseball in very short notice.

The Orioles shouldn’t be considered among the other losers on this list. My qualm with their deadline decision-making revolves around the fact that they did little to help their pitching, aside from adding Flaherty. Flaherty helps, but their lack of established pitching depth aside from him should have been addressed as well.


The Royals have had a rough year, and they’ve found themselves at the bottom of their division throughout it. They did the right thing by selling their better players for prospects, and were relatively active at the deadline.

So what makes them a loser? Point blank, they got very mediocre returns. They landed Cole Ragans and Roni Cabrera in return for Aroldis Chapman. That’s a decent return. However, Nicky Lopez, Ryan Yarbrough, Scott Barlow and Mike Mayers all ended up having disappointing returns. Kansas City sold the players they needed to, but did not get nearly enough as they should have in return. Kansas City was one of the losers from this year’s MLB trade deadline.


Similar to the Orioles situation, Cincinnati should look at this season as a net positive no matter what.

Unfortunately, the Reds also followed Baltimore’s deadline blueprint. A team that is in the hunt for the division and the playoffs, one that could have really used some pitching and bench depth, ended with a measly addition of Sam Moll. Given the Reds’ recent success, they’ve earned the right to be given the benefit of the doubt. With that in mind, their deadline moves left a lot to be desired.

NL Central Postseason Race Heating Up

The 2023 MLB season is slowly coming to an end but, the NL Central postseason standings show a race is beginning. Before June, it seemed like the NL Central was dead and the Milwaukee Brewers were going to sail off into the postseason with no struggle. Like everyone says, it’s a long season filled with 162 games — so anything can happen. Once again that sentiment is proving true.

With two months left, the NL Central now has three teams fighting for first place in the division, and one of the three available Wild Card spots. There is an important four-game series between the Cincinnati Reds and Chicago Cubs starting this week that could make or break either team’s season.

What is the current state of the NL Central division?

Photo Credit: USA Today / Jace Evans

Currently the Reds are in the top spot of the NL Central, followed by the Brewers, who trail by a half game. Not too far from that are the Cubs, who are four games back. The Brewers currently hold one of the three Wild Card spots, and the Cubs are three-and-a-half games back in one of those spots.

The Cubs looked as if they were going to sell at the trade deadline, but they have gone 8-2 in their last ten games and have surged back up the standings. A four-game series with the first place Reds await the Cubs this week. If the Reds can sweep or win the series, it may be the beginning of the end for the Cubs.

On the other hand, if the surging Cubs can take the series, they are all the way back in on winning the division, and could take a bit of wind out of the Reds sails. The Brewers are the most consistent of the three, so it would not be a shock to see them staying the course and winning the division.

What is the most likely scenario?

Photo Credit: AP Photo / Morry Gash

Thanks to the 2022 changes, we saw the postseason expand from ten teams to twelve. With three Wild Card spots, it is possible to see three NL Central teams in the postseason — which did not seem like a possible scenario just two weeks ago. We will most likely only see two of the three.

My pick to win the NL Central postseason race is the Cincinnati Reds, with the Milwaukee Brewers taking the first Wild Card spot. The Chicago Cubs are playing great and are in the hunt, but with the rest of the National League there are stronger teams who will edge them out in the final weeks.

MLB Playoff Picture: Post All-Star Break

After passing the annual mid-season mark of the season that is the MLB All-Star Game, the playoff picture will begin to take shape. There’s a little over two full months left in the season, and with the trade deadline approaching, teams are either making a run for the pennant or punting their chances away this season. Here’s a complete overview of the MLB playoff picture at this point in the season.

True World Series Contenders

AL: Rays, Orioles, Rangers, Astros

The AL has been a very interesting league up until this point in the season. This half of the league has seen some surprising teams reach new heights, while some familiar faces have remained dominant.

Two of those teams are the Rays and Astros. Both have essentially dominated the American League over the past five years, and have continued that trend in 2023. However, the Orioles and Rangers are two teams that have made massive strides, and find themselves in contention for the first time in a while.

NL: Braves, Dodgers

As for the NL, things get a lot more confusing in this half of the MLB. These two have been the top teams in recent memory — aside from the 2022 season. To this point in the season, no other team has truly established themselves as a threat to dethrone these two.

MLB Playoff Contenders

AL: Blue Jays, Twins, Red Sox, Yankees

The AL East is a flat-out bloodbath this season. Every single team in the division has the chance to at least make the playoffs. One team will have to miss out, but all have been impressive throughout the year.

NL: Brewers, Giants, Diamondbacks, Marlins, Phillies, Reds

The Wild Card race in the NL is wiiiide-open right now. The Brewers and Phillies have been in this race for a few years now, so it’s not surprising to see them here again.

On the flip side, it’s very surprising to see the Giants, Diamondbacks, Marlins, and Reds here. This year has seen a rejuvenation of new faces, and all four of these teams seem to be on the rise, ready to make noise in October.

Fringe MLB Playoff Contenders

AL: Mariners, Angels, Guardians

This year has been a disappointing one for these three, to say the least. The Mariners and Guardians, both coming off playoff appearances last season, have been unable to sustain their success. The Angels disappointing campaign seems to be yet another wasted year with Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani.

NL: *crickets*

Uhh.. Maybe Next Year, Or the Year After.. Or..

AL: Tigers, Royals, White Sox, Athletics

This is the bottom of the barrel in the American League. First, we have the Tigers and Royals. Both of these teams have bright futures, but have failed to take that next step.

The White Sox have talent, but have failed to find any sort of rhythm throughout the year. Some players have regressed, and they may need a retool to be competitive going forward. On that same note, it’s looking more and more likely that they will be sellers at the deadline.

As for the Athletics… well, yeah.

NL: Padres, Mets, Cubs, Pirates, Cardinals, Nationals, Rockies

There are several disappointing teams on this list. The Padres, Mets, and Cardinals all were competitive last season, but have drastically failed to meet those same expectations this year. Pittsburgh is a team on the rise, and they had a great start to the season, but have fluttered out of the playoff race. Look for them to make noise next year.

The Cubs, Nationals, and Rockies are all in the middle of their respective rebuilds. All three of these teams have solid farm systems and should be competitive in a couple of years. For now though, they find themselves at the bottom of the National League.