How many teams make the mlb playoffs? The 2023 MLB postseason is just around the corner. The regular season came to a close on Sunday, October 1, setting the stage for the Wild Card round to get underway on Tuesday, October 3.
12 teams in total make the MLB playoffs, six from each league. Two teams from each league (division winners with the best records) will receive first-round byes, while the remaining four teams from each league will compete in the Wild Card round. The Wild Card round will be conducted in a best-of-three format, with the winners advancing to the Division Series.
Below is everything you need to know about the MLB postseason schedule and format
Who Holds the MLB Postseason Tiebreakers in 2023?
The Orioles have clinched the No. 1 seed in the American League and thus have secured home-field advantage.
The Braves have clinched the No. 1 seed in the National League and thus have secured home-field advantage.
There are no more Game 163s to determine playoff spots. Tiebreakers are determined mathematically, starting with head-to-head record, then intradivisional record (if needed), and finally interdivisional record (if needed).
How many teams reach the MLB playoffs?
12 teams will make the MLB playoffs — six from both the American League and National League. This is an increase over the previous format which had 10 teams.
This is broken out with three division winners in the AL and NL as well as three Wild Card teams.
Will the MLB playoffs have reseeding?
There will be no reseeding in this format. The winner of the No. 4- and 5-seeded matchup will advance to the Division Series and play the No. 1 seed. The winner of the No. 3 and 6 seeded series will take on the No. 2 seed. The goal is to keep the No. 1 seed from having to face a divisional winner until the League Championship Round.
Which team gets home-field advantage in the World Series?
The team with the best record in the regular season gets to begin the World Series (and potentially host Game 7) at their home ballpark regardless of playoff seeding. If two teams have the same record, they use a tiebreaker system based on the division tiebreaker rules.
2023 MLB Playoffs format
The National League and American League each send six teams to the postseason, three division winners from each league and three Wild Card teams, the non-division winners with the best records.
The No. 1 seed in each league goes to the team with the best overall record in that league.
The No. 2 seed goes to the division winner with the next best record, while the No. 3 seed goes to the remaining division winner.
The team with the best record that did not win its division gets the No. 4 seed, with the Wild Card team with the second-best record getting the No. 5 seed and the team with the third getting the No. 6 seed.
It pays to be the top two seeds. Those teams get byes straight into the Division Series, while the No. 3 seed takes on the No. 6 seed and the No. 4 seed takes on the No. 5 seed in the first round of the postseason, the Wild Card round.
The Wild Card round is played at the higher seed over three days, with whoever winning the best-of-3 series advancing to the Divisional Round.
The winner of the series between the No. 4 and No. 5 seed will face the No. 1 seed in the Divisional Round and the other series will be the No. 2 seed against the No. 3 or No. 6 seed series winner.
The Divisional Round is a best-of-5 five games, with the first two at the higher seed, Games 3 and 4 at the lower seed and the deciding fifth game, if necessary, at the higher seed.
The winners of the Divisional Round advance to play in the League Championship Series and the World Series, which are best-of-7. The higher seeds get to host the first two games and the last two games of the series, with the lower seed getting the middle three games.
Home-field advantage in the World Series goes to the team with the best record in the regular season, not to the league that won the All-Star Game.
2023 MLB end of season tiebreakers
MLB teams used to play a tiebreaker game at the end of the season if they were tied, but that is no longer the case.
MLB adapted a tiebreaker system to resolve ties and eliminate tie-breaker games at the conclusion of the regular season.
Tiebreakers are first broken by head-to-head records, then it goes to records in your own division, if needed.
A third tiebreaker, if needed is which team has a better record in league games that were not in your division.
In the unlikely event of another tie, the fourth tiebreaker is a team’s record in their league over the second half of the season.
Interestingly, the fifth and final tiebreaker is the outcome of the last game of the first half of intraleague games.
Understanding the divisions
Before you understand the playoff berths, you need to remember how the divisions are set up. There are three divisions in each of the separate leagues. The three divisions are East, Central, and West. Between the American League and National League, you will have teams that represent all six divisions in the postseason.
It is important to remember that a National League team will not play an American League team (or vice versa) until the top two teams play each other in the World Series.
Who gets to play?
12 teams, total, will enter the postseason. 6 teams from the National League and 6 teams from the American League will make it into the playoffs. It is important to note that just because there are 6 teams – that doesn’t guarantee that there will be two teams from each division.
The 6 teams will be made up of the 3 division winners (one from the East, one from the Central, and one from the West) and the 3 teams with the best overall record. This is where it is important to pay attention. If your team plays in a loaded division, your team may not win the division but may still have an opportunity to make the playoffs. So you are competing not just with teams in your division, but with teams across the league.
What is the benefit of winning the division?
Your team’s goal should be to win the division. Remember, the three-division winners are automatically qualified for the postseason. Here is a wrinkle in the postseason picture: The top two division winners get a bye in the first round of the playoffs. The third-division winner does not get a bye and has to play more games to make it deeper into the playoffs.
How many rounds are there in the postseason?
There are four rounds in the playoffs. The first round is known as the Wild Card Round. The second round is called the Divisional Round. This round can also be known more specifically as the American League Divisional Series and National League Divisional Series.
The third round is called the League Championship Round. Specific titles for this round include the American League Championship Series and the National League Championship Series. The winners of these series win their respective league pennant.
The fourth and final round is known as the World Series. Reminder, there is no interleague play until the fourth round. The World Series is where the best team in the American League plays the best team in the National League.
How are the playoffs seeded?
The seeding of the playoffs is not complicated. In each league (American and National), the top two division winners with the best records earn a first-round bye. They are seed numbers 1 and 2. The team with the best record is the first seed, and the team with the second-best record is the second seed.
This reduces the number of teams playing in the first round to four in each league. The third division winner plays in the round with the wild card teams. The third division winner in each league becomes the third seed. The remaining teams, the wild card teams, are seeded based on their records. The best team is the fourth seed, the second is the fifth seed, and the third best record is the sixth seed.
Rounds and match-ups
In the first round of the playoffs (The Wild Card Round), the top two seeds have a bye. The 3 seed plays the 6 seed, and then the 4 and 5 seeds play each other. This series is a best of 3 games series. The home team alternates with each game. The first host is the team with the best record.
In the second round (The Divisional Series), the two seeds that had byes play the winners of the first round series. The 1 seed plays the lowest seed, and the 2 seed plays the other team. This series is a best of 5 games series. The home team in this series is also determined by record. The series will go 2-2-1. This means the first two games are hosted by the team with the best record, then away to the other team, and finally, if necessary, the last game is played back in the original host team’s ballpark.
In the third round (The Championship Round), the winners of the two divisional series play each other. The winner advances to the World Series. This series is a best of 7 games series. The field alternates 2-3-2. The higher seed is the first host for the first 2 games. Then the series shifts to the other ballpark for 3 games and then back to the original host for the last 2 – if necessary.
The final round is the World Series. In this matchup, you see the best team from the American League facing the best team from the National League. Home-field advantage again rests with the team with the best record. The field alternates 2-3-2. The higher seed is the first host for the first 2 games. Then the series shifts to the other ballpark for 3 games and then back to the original host for the last 2 – if necessary.
Now that you know how the playoff structure works, it makes watching the regular season match-ups more interesting. It also puts some pressure on the division leaders since only two of the three teams will earn a bye. Potentially you could see some postseason previews in the match-ups toward the end of the season.
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