With around 35 games left in the 2022 MLB season, let’s take a look at the teams that have set themselves up for success by making a wild card spot.
Mortal Locks (1) – Atlanta Braves
The Atlanta Braves have the fourth-best record in MLB, and they are nine games clear of the final wild-card spot. They are more likely to wrestle the NL East away from the Mets than they are to miss the playoffs. Even if the Braves went 16-17 in their last 33 games, they would win 95 games. To miss the playoffs, they would have to lose 10.5 games in the standings.
Healthy Position (3) – Tampa Bay Rays, Seattle Mariners, Philadelphia Phillies
While they only have a 1.5-game lead on the final wild-card spot, the Tampa Bay Rays are 3.0 games away from any danger. Unlike the Braves, the division is likely a lost cause, but the Rays are reasonably safe. Baseball-Reference gives the Rays a 78% chance at making the playoffs with a 77.5% chance at making a wild card spot. They begin September with 14 games against AL East teams.
The Seattle Mariners fall into a similar bucket to the Rays. They have a 2.5-game lead on the danger. The Mariners have a 92.6% chance of making the playoffs with a less than 0.1% chance of winning the division. They have an extraordinarily workable schedule including the Detroit Tigers (7), Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Angels (4), Oakland Athletics (6), Kansas City Royals, and Texas Rangers.
The Philadelphia Phillies have a 4.0-game lead on the seventh-place team in the NL race. They have a 98.6% chance of securing a playoff spot. Philadelphia has been roasting hot since the All-Star Break, winning 23 of 36 games. The rest of the way, the Phillies have a ludicrously easy schedule. Seven of their last 11 series are against teams with a losing record. They do have two series against the Braves, but the NL East rivals have split their season series.
On the Bubble (2) – Toronto Blue Jays, San Diego Padres
The Toronto Blue Jays occupy the final AL Wild Card spot, holding a 1.5-game safety net. However, the Blue Jays have been on a bit of a slide this month. In the last 30 days, they have seen their playoff chances decrease by 21.2%. While it is still a healthy 65.8% chance at making the postseason, the Blue Jays have conceded ground.
The San Diego Padres have the final NL Wild Card spot. They are 1.5 games clear of the chasing teams. The Padres have a 60.3% chance at making the playoffs, 11.5% lower than it was a month ago. New additions Josh Bell and Brandon Drury have not panned out as hoped so far, and Josh Hader has an ERA over 23. On the bright side, Juan Soto has improved his season OPS+, and Fernando Tatis Jr. was not suspended again.
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Outside Looking In (3) – Baltimore Orioles, Minnesota Twins, Milwaukee Brewers
The Baltimore Orioles are 1.5 games back of the last wild card spot, and they have an elimination number of 35. The Orioles currently have a 49.6% of making the playoffs, but they have been red-hot since July started. They are 32-18 for a .640 winning percentage, chewing up ground in the division and the wild card. At one point, the Orioles were 11 games below .500. They are now seven games over. Similarly, they have trimmed 11.5 games off the AL East.
The Minnesota Twins have two viable bites at the apple here. First, they are 2.0 games behind the Cleveland Guardians in the AL Central. Second, they are 3.0 games behind the Blue Jays for the wild card spot. While they only have a 34.1% shot at making the playoffs, they have eight more games against the Guardians. With a decent dose of the three bad teams in the AL Central left on the schedule, the Twins can make a move.
The Milwaukee Brewers are in the middle of a tailspin. In the last 30 days, they have lost 33 percentage points in their playoff odds, and they are now just at 40.3%. The division has disappeared, leaving them with a 2.3% shot at repeating as champs.
They have been a .500 team since May 1, and they are just 10-14 since August 1. The wheels have effectively flown off in Milwaukee. The only saving grace is that they have the Pittsburgh Pirates, Arizona Diamondbacks (7), Colorado Rockies, San Francisco Giants (2), Cincinnati Reds (7), and Miami Marlins (4) left.
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