LOS ANGELES — It's always nice when sports can find a way to keep you guessing, it's part of the allure for fans. The San Francisco Giants' story this season is one that really no one saw coming.
They were the first MLB team to clinch a playoff spot on Monday night when they secured their 94th win of the season. A team many expected to finish third or worse in the NL West may end up being the No. 1 overall seed on the National League side of the bracket.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday night, San Francisco's NL West foe, the Los Angeles Dodgers became the second MLB team to clinch a playoff spot as they continue to try to run down the Giants for the top spot in the division.
The Giants remain 2.5 games ahead of the Dodgers. The significance of the NL West race is substantial. While the Giants and Dodgers hold the two best records in baseball and the Giants have held the best record in baseball for pretty much the entire season, Dodgers the best in the second half, one of these teams will find themselves having to play in the Wild Card play-in game to really be in the playoffs.
If the season ended today
If the MLB season ended today, here's what the playoff picture would look like.
As the National League runs through the NL West, the American League runs through the AL East. The Rays hold the best record in the AL, with the Yankees, Blue Jays and Red Sox all currently tied for Wild Card slots 1 and 2.
American League playoff picture as of Sept. 15
- AL Wild Card Game: Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees
- AL Division Series: Winner of Jays/Yankees at (1) Tampa Bay Rays
- AL Division Series: (3) Chicago White Sox at (2) Houston Astros
National League playoff picture as of Sept. 15
- NL Wild Card Game: St. Louis Cardinals at Los Angeles Dodgers
- NL Division Series: Winner of Cardinals/Dodgers at (1) San Francisco Giants
- NL Division Series: (3) Atlanta Braves at (2) Milwaukee Brewers
There are going to be some tight races down the stretch including the aforementioned NL West top spot race between the two teams who have already clinched. The second Wild Card slot in both leagues is between a handful of teams.
NL Wild Card teams in the hunt
- Cincinnati Reds: 0.5 games back of Cardinals
- San Diego Padres: 1.0 games back of Cardinals
- Philadelphia Phillies: 3.0 games back of Cardinals
- New York Mets: 4.0 games back of Cardinals
AL Wild Card teams in the hunt
- Boston Red Sox: 0 games back of Blue Jays/Yankees
- Seattle Mariners: 3.0 games back of Blue Jays/Yankees
- Oakland A's: 3.5 games back of Blue Jays/Yankees
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