Braves’ dream seeding scenario, matchup for 2023 MLB playoffs

The Atlanta Braves have done everything possible to set themselves up for a championship run. The Braves clinched a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the 2023 MLB playoffs. No matter how the final 2023 MLB playoff seeding shakes out, Atlanta should be favored at the start of every series.

There are certain scenarios that would improve the Braves’ chances of winning the 2023 World Series. The final day of the regular season and the two NL wild-card series will determine Atlanta’s first playoff opponent.

Braves’ dream seeding scenario, matchups for 2023 MLB playoffs

With the best record in baseball, the Braves will automatically advance to the NLDS. Atlanta’s opponent will be the winner of the NL wild-card series between the No. 4 and No. 5 seed. The Philadelphia Phillies are locked in as the NL’s No. 4 seed. The Arizona Diamondbacks, Miami Marlins and Cincinnati Reds all still have a chance to clinch the No. 5 seed with two regular-season games remaining. In the ideal Braves seeding scenario, either the Diamondbacks or the Reds get the No. 5 seed and beat the Phillies to secure an NLDS matchup with Atlanta.

Cincinnati should be Atlanta’s dream opponent. The Reds are extremely young, lacking playoff experience across much of the roster. The Braves are the polar opposite, having won six straight NL East titles. There’s also Cincinnati’s rotation, which is the worst in the 2023 MLB Playoffs. Atlanta has a historic lineup that would bludgeon the Reds’ rotation and its 5.39 ERA.

The Diamondbacks wouldn’t be a bad consolation prize for the Braves. Arizona is the most likely No. 5 seed. Unlike the Reds, the Diamondbacks don’t have a top-10 offense. Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly, however, would be a formidable one-two punch in the rotation for a short playoff series.

The Phillies would have the best chance to upset the Braves in the NLDS. It isn’t just that Philadelphia finished ahead of the other wild-card teams by a comfortable margin. Philadelphia topped Atlanta in last year’s NLDS. The Phillies would enter the series with a confidence that wouldn’t be owned by any other possible Braves’ playoff opponent.

Let’s assume the Braves advance to the NLCS. Even if Atlanta gets a rematch with Philadelphia, the NL East champs should take care of business. The Braves entered the penultimate day of the regular season at least 13 games better than every wild-card team. How should Atlanta want the other NL portion of the 2023 MLB playoff bracket to shake out?

If the Reds clinch the No. 5 seed and the Diamondbacks earn the No. 6 seed, there’s an unlikely scenario in which Arizona makes its way to the NLCS. If Atlanta only has to go through Cincinnati and Arizona in order to make the World Series, it’s hard to believe the Braves will be stopped short of the Fall Classic.

It doesn’t take a baseball savant to know that Atlanta should want to avoid the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS. The Dodgers are the only team with both a top-three offense and pitching staff. Los Angeles has the biggest division lead in baseball. While Ronald Acuna Jr. is the NL MVP favorite, Mookie Betts has been making a case to be considered for the award. Freddie Freeman is also putting up MVP-caliber numbers.

The Braves would be clear favorites over the Miami Marlins in a series, though it would be helpful if Atlanta could avoid its division rival. The Marlins swept the Braves just two weeks ago during their only series in the second half of the season. Atlanta can only see the Milwaukee Brewers in the NLCS. Milwaukee’s starting pitching gives it a chance against anyone.

No matter who stands in the Braves’ way, Atlanta will make the World Series if it comes close to playing its best brand of baseball.

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MLB playoffs: AL, NL Wild Card, division standings, seedings, tiebreakers explained (9/30)

The tension is palpable. You could feel the excitement in the air. The wait for October baseball is nearly over. But before we willingly dive head first into all of the MLB playoffs madness, there is still some business to take care of in the final days of the regular season.

Aside from a razor-tight NL East race, the 2022 campaign offered little in the way of last-minute drama and suspense. This year, though, is headed towards a wild conclusion. There are still unclaimed postseason berths in both leagues, with Saturday’s slate of games giving a few teams the chance to break out the bubbly.

We are going to set the table as best we can for the 2023 MLB playoffs, updating you on the latest AL and NL standings and seedings and spotlighting the critical wild card races. Let’s get to it.

Division Standings

AL East

The Baltimore Orioles capped off their improbable year of dominance by claiming their first divisional title in nine years on Thursday. They will be prioritizing health and maintenance the rest of the weekend. The second-place Tampa Bay Rays are in the same boat and are just waiting to see who they will be hosting in the first round of the playoffs.

Those small-market overachievers can be joined by another AL East foe, if the Toronto Blue Jays defeat Tampa Bay on Saturday. A Seattle Mariners loss will also lock up a spot for the Jays.

AL Central

Not much to report here. The AL Central remains one of the most anti-climactic divisions in baseball, as the Minnesota Twins (86-74) have faced virtually no resistance since August. However, the Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Guardians are engaged in a sub-.500 battle for second place, which will be determined by their next two head-to-head games. How exciting.

Seriously, though, there will be some intrigue, as the great Terry Francona wraps up a should-be Hall of Fame managerial career.

AL West

This the place to be for the next two days. The Texas Rangers, Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners can each clinch the AL West or miss the MLB postseason entirely. That is the exact insanity fans deserve and crave this time of the year. Texas holds a one-game lead over Houston, who in turn has a game up on Seattle. The tiebreakers, which we’ll get into a little later, could be critical in sorting this whole mess out.

If you only have time to watch one game on Saturday, make it the Rangers-Mariners, while also keeping an eye on the Astros vs. Arizona Diamondbacks.

NL East

The Atlanta Braves will go into the postseason with the best record in baseball at 103-57. They’ve had nothing on the line for a while but still managed to sweep the desperate Chicago Cubs this week. The Philadelphia Phillies also cruise into October with a second-place NL East finish and their eyes firmly on a return World Series trip.

All of the interest this weekend, though, lies in the Miami Marlins, who can clinch just their fourth playoff berth in franchise history with a win or losses by both the Cubs and Cincinnati Reds on Saturday.

NL Central

It was a race for a while, but the Milwaukee Brewers (91-69) surged in September and locked down their second NL Central crown in three years. Their only remaining purpose in the regular season is likely to thrust the dagger into Chicago’s postseason dreams. Cincinnati needs to win out against the St. Louis Cardinals and get a lot help to squeeze its way into October.

NL West

The Los Angeles Dodgers (99-61) once again run away with the NL West, continuing their near-endless reign of supremacy. But don’t scroll past the Diamondbacks because they are very much in the hunt for a wild card slot.

AL, NL Wild Card

AL Wild Card

We already alluded to the potential hysteria that this chase can produce across Saturday and Sunday, but its significance cannot be overstated. While the NL is replete with feel-good storylines, there is a decent possibility that one of the three AL Wild Card representatives wins it all.

The Rays’ status has never been questioned, but the Astros and Mariners could be fighting until the season finale for that final postseason slot. The defending World Series champions are in control of their own destiny but face an Arizona team with a lot to play for in its own right. No one is feeling as desperate as Seattle, however.

The M’s have to beat the Rangers at least one more time (maybe two) and need Houston to stumble in the desert. As mentioned before, though, there is still a chance Texas slides into the wild card fray or misses the MLB playoffs altogether. Crazy stuff.

NL Wild Card

The Cubs were in prime position to clinch an NL Wild Card position just a week ago but have consistently combusted late in games. They did so again on Friday versus the Brewers and are now tied with the Reds, trailing the D-backs by two games and Marlins by one-and-a-half.

Miami (83-76) is on the verge of accomplishing something truly special, advancing into the postseason with some of its best players either sidelined or banged-up. When the franchise ended its lengthy playoff drought in 2020, fans could not properly enjoy it. South Beach will erupt if and when the Fish punch their ticket this weekend versus the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Reds want to write their own storybook ending, though. Youth and inexperience has been considered their biggest roadblock, but can they grow up quick enough to give Joey Votto one more October at-bat? Arizona, not to be overshadowed, has cleared its own hurdles and can no longer be denied. Rookie Corbin Carroll is on the cusp of leading his squad to the MLB playoffs for the first time since 2017. They are currently in the second wild card slot, one-and-a-half games clear of the danger zone.

MLB Playoffs: seedings, tiebreakers

Teams’ head-to-head records will determine tiebreakers. Records within the division will ultimately decide the tiebreaker if overall head-to-head records are the exact same, per Anthony Castrovince of

The important one to look at will be if the Mariners and Astros end up tied in the standings. Seattle won the head-to-head series and thus makes the postseason if it pulls even with the champs after the last game. If the Rangers skid and end up tied with their AL West rivals, then they will stunningly be the odd one out (assuming Toronto secures second wild card position).

The NL Wild Card tiebreakers are a little more complex, as shown by, but the Marlins benefit the most.

AL seedings (As of 9/30)

  1. Orioles
  2. Rangers
  3. Twins
  4. Rays
  5. Blue Jays
  6. Astros

NL seedings

  1. Braves
  2. Dodgers
  3. Brewers
  4. Phillies
  5. Diamondbacks
  6. Marlins

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Phillies vs. Mets prediction, odds, pick, how to watch – 9/30/2023

We’re set to bring you another prediction and pick for Friday’s slate of MLB action as we head over to the NL East for the final series for both teams in the 2023 season. The Philadelphia Phillies (89-70) will hit the road and visit the New York Mets (72-86) as both teams put a cap on their regular season. Check out our MLB odds series for our Phillies-Mets prediction and pick.

The Philadelphia Phillies have effectively clinched the No. 4 spot in the Postseason and will likely host a Wild Card Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. They’ve been the hottest team in baseball to close out the season, winning 10 of their last 13 games. They lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates last night in a close game, so they’ll be hungry to bounce back and win the season out. Taijuan Walker (RHP) will make the start.

The New York Mets come into this game following a strange turn of events after their game against Miami got rained out mid-way and their game earlier Friday was postponed due to flooding in New York. It’s still up in the air whether the stadium will be able to control the water, but there may not be many fans at this game considering the Mets have fallen out of playoff contention. They’ll hope for a bright spot as they try for the win.

Here are the Phillies-Mets MLB odds, courtesy of FanDuel. 

MLB Odds: Phillies-Mets Odds

Philadelphia Phillies: -1.5 (+146)

New York Mets: +1.5 (-178)

Over: 7.5 (-120)

Under: 7.5 (-102)

How To Watch Phillies vs. Mets

TV: SportsNet New York

Stream: MLB.TV, fuboTV

Time: 7:10 p.m. ET/ 4:10 p.m. PT

*Watch MLB games LIVE with fuboTV (click for a free trial)*

Why The Phillies Could Cover The Spread

The Phillies were able to clinch their National League Wild Card spot and they’re likely to be facing the Arizona Diamondbacks for a spot in the NLDS. They’ve been scorching hot to close the season and won seven consecutive games before falling to the Pirates in their last outing. They’re comfortably cruising into the Wild Card and they won’t have much to worry about against a Mets team that isn’t playing for anything but pride on their end.

Tiajuan Walker (15-5) will start with a 4.35 ERA through 165.2 innings of action. Walker hasn’t won a start since back on Sept. 9 against the San Diego Padres. However, the Phillies took down the Mets in his last start back on the 22nd.

Why The Mets Could Cover The Spread

The Mets are struggling to close the season on a positive note as they’ve lost five of their last six and have to deal with flooding around their city. Just two series ago, the Mets were swept in a four-game series by this same Phillies team. The positive note is that two of those games were decided by one run and the Mets were able to find run production of their own. While their season may be all but over, look for them to continue trying to make these final games respectable.

There’s no certainty that this game will be played, so the Mets have yet to announce a starting pitcher for this matchup. In the last four days, the Mets have only played two of their last five scheduled games. If missing the playoffs wasn’t enough, it’s hard for this team to get into any kind of rhythm if their games are constantly being postponed. Look for the Mets to have a similar bullpen-style approach to this game.

Final Phillies-Mets Prediction & Pick

These teams are trending in completely opposite directions and this game will have little-to-no weight in the playoff picture. Still, the New York Mets have a solid chance to win as the underdogs in this spot. However, there’s no recent performances that suggest we should back the Mets with money in this spot. Instead, we’ll take the Phillies to win this game as it’s probably a game you’d typically stay away from.

Final Phillies-Mets Prediction & Pick: Philadelphia Phillies -1.5 (+146)

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Why Giants must hire Aaron Boone if Yankees fire him after Gabe Kapler move

The San Francisco Giants fired Gabe Kapler on Friday. Kapler spent four seasons with San Francisco, three of which were rather mediocre. The Giants enjoyed a special 2021 season but that has begun to look like an outlier. Still, the decision was fairly surprising. San Francisco is now in the process of looking for a new manager, and Aaron Boone of the New York Yankees could make sense.

It obviously needs to be noted that Boone is still with the Yankees as of this story’s publication. That said, Boone recently admitted to being unsure of his job status for the 2024 campaign. The Yankees endured a down 2023 season as well, leaving some people around the MLB world questioning Boone’s future in New York. Boone would be a coveted manager if the Yankees opted to go in a different direction.

Why would Aaron Boone make sense for the Giants though?

Why Giants must hire Aaron Boone

2024 will be the final season of Aaron Boone’s contract with the Yankees. Barring an extension, he will be a free agent manager next offseason.

So even if New York decides to keep Boone for one more year, the Giants could still think about signing him next year. And for 2024, they could simply implement an interim manager. But if Boone gets fired soon with the ’23 season winding down, now will be the time to pounce for San Francisco.

Boone has found a lot of success with the Yankees. Some Yankees fans may say otherwise since New York hasn’t won a World Series under Boone’s leadership. The team has been a consistent playoff contender though.

One area where Boone has excelled is in terms of handling the media. Everyone knows New York media can be difficult to navigate, but Boone has done a respectable job. He doesn’t throw his players under the bus and is open to taking blame when the Yankees struggle.

So if Boone can handle the New York media, he would certainly do a fantastic job in San Francisco.

The Bay Area media is much more relaxed so Boone would be more than prepared. Giants fans will wonder how Boone would provide an upgrade over Gabe Kapler in terms of winning though.

Aaron Boone vs. Gabe Kapler

Boone hasn’t endured a losing season with the Yankees. In fact, this is the first season New York failed to win more than 90 games with Boone leading the charge (2020’s 60-game season excluded).

Even in 2023, Boone has led the Yankees to an 81-78 record as of this story’s writing. That is a down season for him. Many managers around the league would love to have a record like that.

The fact is Boone knows what it takes to lead a winning team.

On the other hand, Kapler’s tenure with the Giants was defined by mediocrity with the 2021 season being the exception. Now that wasn’t all his fault, as the Giants’ front office didn’t always provide him with the best talent.

Still, the Giants finished two games under .500 in 2020, exactly .500 in 2022, and are currently three games under .500 in 2023. In 2021, the Giants had the best record in baseball with a 107-55 mark. That season cannot be forgotten, but Kapler struggled in terms of consistency (with winning) overall.

Kapler’s first manager job came with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2018. His mediocrity actually began in Philadelphia, leading the Phillies to an 80-82 record in 2018 and 81-81 record in 2019.

Kapler isn’t a bad manager. He will find another job in the big leagues if he wants to. But it was time for a change, and Aaron Boone would provide a new level of excitement for Giants fans.

Will Boone actually get fired?

The Yankees don’t have a recent track record of firing managers. Given Boone’s success, New York won’t jump to fire him. Again, though, this is New York we are talking about. Yankees fans expect World Series victories, something that has alluded Boone so far.

Right now, there is no indication of what the future holds for Boone. There’s a chance New York moves on, so fans will closely want to monitor the situation. Even if the Yankees don’t fire him the Giants could still try to hire him next year if they opt for an interim manager in 2024.

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Rays: Dream seeding scenario, matchup for 2023 MLB playoffs

It appeared as if the Tampa Bay Rays were the best team in baseball during the first 2-plus months of the season as they sat in first place in the American League East and were on an eye-catching roll. However, the Baltimore Orioles improved throughout the season and the Rays were unable to sustain their early-season success.

The two teams switched positions and the Orioles moved into first place in mid-July and stayed there, while the Rays slumped. They were able to come out of it and secure a playoff position as the No. 1 Wild Card in the American League.

They have clinched their playoff position as the No. 4 seed in the AL playoffs, and they would face the Toronto Blue Jays if the season ended today.

However, the season doesn’t end until Sunday, and they could still play the Houston Astros or the Seattle Mariners.

Blue Jays or Astros are most likely opponent

Since the Blue Jays have a one-game lead over the Astros for the No. 5 seed in the American League, it seems likely that that the Rays will face them. However, the Blue Jays have just a one-game lead over the Astros, so the two teams could switch positions.

The Blue Jays are hosting the Rays in the final regular season series, while the Astros are on the road against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Arizona is currently in the National League playoff structure, but they need to have some success this weekend if they are going to clinch a spot in the postseason.

The Rays have split their season series with the Jays going into the final weekend, with both sides winning 5 games. The Rays and the Astros split their season series 3-3.

The Astros don’t appear to be as powerful or playing as well as they did in last year’s postseason when they won the World Series. Still, this is a team with a sensational pedigree and the Astros are not likely to get nervous when the series is on the line.

Blue Jays would be the better matchup for Rays

As a result, it seems that a series against the inconsistent Blue Jays would be more favorable for Tampa Bay.

The Blue Jays have been a team that is subject to wide swings in terms of run production. While they have a powerful lineup that includes Vladimir Guerrero Jr., George Springer and Bo Bichette, the Blue Jays were shut out in consecutive games against the Yankees this week.

They can light up the scoreboard with their power, but good pitching can shut them down.

The Tampa Bay lineup seemingly would have a good chance against the Toronto pitching staff. Left fielder Randy Arozarena has belted 23 home runs and driven in 87 runs this season, and he has a history of success in the postseason.

Arozarena’s primary partner in crime has been Yandy Diaz, and the first baseman has slashed .328/.408/.515 with 21 home runs and 76 RBI. Tampa Bay’s primary source of power comes from 3rd baseman Isaac Paredes who has hammered 31 home runs and driven in 97 runs.

The Rays also have some experienced pitchers in Zach Elfin and Tyler Glasnow who are capable of slowing down the Toronto attack. When it comes down to the battle of the bullpens, closer Pete Fairbanks has recorded 25 saves and a 2.64 ERA.

The Astros would likely provide more resistance than Jays

This is a team that has shown it can come through in clutch situations when facing the toughest teams. The Astros certainly did just that when they beat the Mariners, Yankees and Phillies to take the World Series a year ago.

The clutch hitting the Astros have with Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker would make them very dangerous in the late stages of any close games. Alvarez has 31 home runs and 97 RBI in 111 games, while Tucker has blasted 29 home runs and driven in 111 runs this season, and those 2 left-handed hitters are capable of putting their imprint on any series.

The Astros also would present a problem with their pitching staff with Justin Verlander and Framber Valdez handling the primary mound responsibilities. If Verlander can get through the first inning or two without giving up a run, he is capable of shutting down any opponent.

Orioles await in Divisional Playoffs

Should the Rays survive their initial 3-game series, the AL East champion Orioles would await. Baltimore is resurgent and hungry this year, but the Rays would have the experience edge since they have been in the playoffs for 4 consecutive seasons.

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Rangers vs. Mariners prediction, odds, pick, how to watch – 9/29/2023

After last night’s thrilling matchup, the Texas Rangers will once again suit up for play at T-Mobile Park where they will face off on the diamond with the Seattle Mariners. With major playoff implications on the line, it is time to check out our MLB odds series where our Rangers-Mariners prediction and pick will be revealed.

Coming as close to one out away from pushing the Mariners to the brink of being eliminated from playoff play, Texas could not close the door and instead gave up a two-RBI single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning. With the hopes of getting that much closer to clinching the AL West division, Texas will have to wait just a tad longer as they plan to send out ace Nathan Eovaldi to get the job done. As it stands, the Rangers are two games up on the Astros and three games ahead of the Mariners for the division title.

Meanwhile, the Mariners showcased some unreal magic and grit in the ninth inning to ultimately save their season and stay afloat in the playoff race. Currently, it is Seattle that remains only one game back of divisional rival Houston for the final AL Wild Card spot. In line for the Friday night start will be RHP Bryan Woo who is 4-5 with a 4.39 ERA in a total of 17 starts from the mound. Having not gone to the playoffs in back-to-back years since the early 00’s, can the Mariners get the job done in the final three games of the regular season?

Here are the Rangers-Mariners MLB odds, courtesy of FanDuel. 

MLB Odds: Rangers-Mariners Odds

Texas Rangers: +1.5 (-210)

Seattle Mariners: -1.5 (+172)

Over: 8 (-110)

Under: 8 (-110)

How To Watch Rangers vs. Mariners


Stream: MLB.TV

Time: 10:10 ET/8:10 PT

*Watch MLB games LIVE with fuboTV (click for a free trial)*

Why The Rangers Could Cover The Spread

With victory right at the tip of their fingers, the Rangers couldn’t maintain their grip on Thursday’s night game and now face a must-win situation if they are going to continue their march to capture their first AL West title since 2016. Nevertheless, Friday evening offers a clean slate for Texas to reset and refocus their aspirations of defeating the Mariners on their home turf.

In order to bounce back and cover the spread as underdogs in this one, then having your best twirler on the bump is certainly a good start. After being named to his second All-Star game this summer, Eovaldi has quickly and surely been absolutely automatic from the mound. Most especially, Eovaldi has been excellent on the road en route to a 6-1 record and a minuscule 2.88 ERA. Even though the 33-year-old hurler surrendered five runs in his last appearance, he should be dialed in and ready to go for his final regular-season start.

Not to mention, but the offense will need to perform far better in order to jump the gun and avoid letting the Mariners have control of the contest. Offensively, Texas fell short on Thursday as they only recorded three hits on the evening. For one of the top offenses in baseball, this is simply not gonna cut it.

Why The Mariners Could Cover The Spread

With their backs up against the wall, it was the Mariners that proved to be as resilient as ever. If it wasn’t for J.P. Crawford’s heroics, then the Mariners’ playoff hopes and dreams could’ve evaporated into thin air at this very moment.

Although Thursday night was as nail-biting and magical as it gets, the job is far from finished. With three games remaining, the Mariners MUST treat every remaining game like their playoff lives depend on it.

Entering Friday night’s contest as favorites despite Eovaldi in line for the start inside the Texas clubhouse, the Mariners must be a little more cleaner from within the batter’s box. Without a doubt, Seattle did their part in wreaking havoc on the base paths, but they failed to capitalize on bringing men home. Overall, the M’s only went 1-9 with RISP which is not an ideal recipe for success. Despite Seattle being known for their elite pitching staff, these bats will need to be crackin’ and hitting on all cylinders to keep their season alive.

Above all else, Seattle is desperate for Bryan Woo to record a solid start. Five days ago against the Rangers, Woo was lit up for six runs on five hits in only 3 1/3 of an inning. Simply put, Woo will need to put his best foot forward against a Texas offense that will make you pay in a hurry.

Final Rangers-Mariners Prediction & Pick

Last night was as entertaining as it gets from a fan perspective, and tonight should be nothing but the same. However, when the going gets tough, rely on Eovaldi and the Rangers to make the necessary plays down the stretch to down the Mariners and cover the spread.

Final Rangers-Mariners Prediction & Pick: Rangers +1.5 (-210)

The post Rangers vs. Mariners prediction, odds, pick, how to watch – 9/29/2023 appeared first on ClutchPoints.

MLB playoffs: AL, NL Wild Card, division standings, seedings, tiebreakers explained (9/29)

The regular season is winding down which means the MLB playoffs are right around the corner. The standings are changing by the day, especially in the AL and NL Wild Card races. Although many division races are already decided, there is still a lot at play heading into the final weekend of the season. Without further ado, let’s take a look at how the playoff races look as of Friday, September 29.

Division standings

AL East

The Baltimore Orioles clinched the AL East Thursday. The Tampa Bay Rays kept things interesting throughout the year, but Baltimore ultimately earned a division title.

Baltimore also earned their 100th victory in the division-clinching win. By winning the AL East, the O’s guaranteed themselves home field advantage through the AL playoffs.

The Toronto Blue Jays are also still in the MLB playoffs race despite sitting in third place in the AL East. They are looking to clinch an AL Wild Card berth.

AL Central

The Minnesota Twins previously clinched the AL Central. Minnesota will be the only AL Central team heading to the postseason. Notably, the Detroit Tigers recently passed the Cleveland Guardians for second place in the division. Although that doesn’t mean much in 2023, it signifies that Detroit may be in line for a big 2024 campaign.

AL West

The AL West remains baseball’s most competitive division. As a result, it’s the only division that has not been decided.

As of September 29, the Texas Rangers lead the AL West by two games. The Houston Astros (two games back) and Seattle Mariners (three games back) are still in the division race as well. Texas is close to locking up the division, but Houston and Seattle won’t go down without a fight.

NL East

The NL East was decided long ago. The Atlanta Braves clinched the division and hold MLB’s best record. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Phillies are in second place but lead the NL Wild Card.

The Miami Marlins are still in the NL Wild Card race as well.

NL Central

For most of the season, the NL Central was a competitive division. But the Milwaukee Brewers finally pulled away and are now division champions.

That said, the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds are still fighting for an NL Wild Card spot.

NL West

Once again, the NL West belongs to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Arizona Diamondbacks remain in the NL Wild Card conversation though.

AL, NL Wild Card

AL Wild Card

The AL Wild Card still has four teams fighting for two spots. The Rangers, Astros, and Mariners are all fighting for the division and the wild card. The Toronto Blue Jays are also in the mix.

It needs to be noted that the Rays already clinched the top AL Wild Card spot. Toronto currently sits in second while Houston holds the third and final wild card position. Seattle is just one game back though.

Texas is technically in the wild card conversation too. They hold the AL West division lead and would prefer to book their ticket to October via the division. At the very least, clinching a wild card spot remains on the table.

NL Wild Card

In similar fashion to Tampa Bay, the Phillies hold the best record of all the wild card teams in the NL.

Arizona, Miami, Chicago, and Cincinnati are all fighting for the final two spots. The Diamondbacks are currently second and should be able to clinch a postseason berth barring a complete collapse.

The Marlins recently overtook the Cubs and hold the third and final NL Wild Card position. Chicago and Cincinnati are still alive though.

Meanwhile, the Padres sit 3.5 games back of a wild card spot.

MLB playoffs: Seedings, tiebreakers (as of 9/29)

Teams’ head-to-head records will determine tiebreakers. Records within the division will ultimately decide the tiebreaker if overall head-to-head records are the exact same, per Anthony Castrovince of

AL seedings

1. Baltimore Orioles

2. Texas Rangers

3. Minnesota Twins

4. Tampa Bay Rays

5. Toronto Blue Jays

6. Houston Astros

NL seedings

1. Atlanta Braves

2. Los Angeles Dodgers

3. Milwaukee Brewers

4. Philadelphia Phillies

5. Arizona Diamondbacks

6. Miami Marlins

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Astros vs. Diamondbacks prediction, odds, pick, how to watch – 9/29/2023

We’re back with another prediction and pick for today’s slate of MLB action as we head West for an Interleague matchup between two teams heading towards the Postseason. The Houston Astros (87-72) will take on the Arizona Diamondbacks (84-75) for a heated matchup. Check out our MLB odds series for our Astros-Diamondbacks prediction and pick.

The Houston Astros are currently in position to lock up the 6-seed for the American League Wild Card and will likely face the Minnesota Twins with a chance to repeat as World Series Champions on the line. They’ve gone just 4-8 in their last 12 games and will need some wins to feel comfortable in their chances. J.P. France (RHP) will be their starter.

The Arizona Diamondbacks are on the cusp of clinching a playoff berth, but they need one more win to do so. They’re likely to be the 5-seed in the Wild Card and would be facing the Philadelphia Phillies in a great series. First, they need to grab one of three against the Astros as they see them for the first time this season. Zac Gallen (RHP) will be their starter.

Here are the Astros-Diamondbacks MLB odds, courtesy of FanDuel. 

MLB Odds: Astros-Diamondbacks Odds

Houston Astros: +1.5 (-192)

Arizona Diamondbacks: -1.5 (+1.5)

Over: 9.5 (-104)

Under: 9.5 (-118)

How To Watch Astros vs. Diamondbacks

TV: ATT SportsNet Southwest

Stream: MLB.TV, fuboTV

Time: 9:40 p.m. ET/ 6:40 p.m. PT

*Watch MLB games LIVE with fuboTV (click for a free trial)*

Why The Astros Could Cover The Spread

The Houston Astros are working to squeak into the playoffs and they’re trying to win crucial games down the stretch as they try to fend off the Seattle Mariners in the Wild Card standings. They allowed the Mariners to gain ground on them by dropping four of six games against the Kansas City Royals. Those were games the Astros could have won easily and clinched their spot much sooner. If it wasn’t for their crucial 2-1 series win over the Mariners just yesterday, they might be in a tighter spot.

J.P. France (11-6) will pitch with a 3.83 ERA through 136.1 innings of work. He’s been very consistent for them this season and has a stellar 6-2 record when pitching on the road. He’s 3-2 in his last five, but he’s coming into this start off two consecutive losses where he gave up seven total earned runs. Look for France to have a much more solid performance knowing what’s on the line for them.

Why The Diamondbacks Could Cover The Spread

The Arizona Diamondbacks were able to take two of three games from the White Sox, but they still need one more elusive win to clinch their spot in the Wild Card Series. They didn’t have many opportunities for hits and they left five total runners on base in scoring position, so it was clear that neither team has a knack for closing the game out yesterday. These last three games will be crucial for the Diamondbacks as they still have the Cubs gunning for their position. Expect them to see this as a must-win game at home.

Zac Gallen (17-8) will start with a 3.49 ERA through 203.3 innings pitched. He’s been their start workhorse and he’s proven himself as one of the most consistent pitchers in the National League. It’s hard for the Diamondbacks to lose when he’s tossing the ball, so he puts them in the best position tonight to clinch their playoff position.

Final Astros-Diamondbacks Prediction & Pick

The Diamondbacks are going to be pressed to finish this game and clinch their playoff berth. They’ll want to do it as quickly as possible, given the talent and ability to sweep this Astros team has in their back pocket. Still, this is the ultimate spot for Zac Gallen to get a win and lift his team to the playoffs. Let’s go with the Arizona Diamondbacks to win the game.

Final Astros-Diamondbacks Prediction & Pick: Arizona Diamondbacks (-120)

The post Astros vs. Diamondbacks prediction, odds, pick, how to watch – 9/29/2023 appeared first on ClutchPoints.

Padres vs. White Sox prediction, odds, pick, how to watch – 9/29/2023

We’re back to bring you a prediction and pick for Friday’s slate of MLB action as the 2023 Regular Season draws to a close. The San Diego Padres (79-80) will take on the Chicago White Sox (61-98) for the final three-game series of their seasons. Check out our MLB odds series for our Padres-White Sox prediction and pick.

The San Diego Padres are currently third in the National League West and won’t have a chance to make the final NL Wild Card spot after falling out of range from the Arizona Diamondbacks. It’s a disappointing finish for them and their fans as they were poised for the Postseason all year. They’ll try to end their season on a high note on the road in Chicago. Nick Martinez (RHP) will be their starter.

The Chicago White Sox are fourth in the American League Central and have been looking forward to next season since the All-Star break. It’ll be interesting to see what changes get made in the front office and management of this team, but they’ve got a chance to show their home fans one last win before the season closes out. Dylan Cease (RHP) will be their starter.

Here are the Padres-White Sox MLB odds, courtesy of FanDuel. 

MLB Odds: Padres-White Sox Odds

San Diego Padres: -1.5 (+106)

Chicago White Sox: +1.5 (-128)

Over: 8.5 (-120)

Under: 8.5 (-102)

How To Watch Padres vs. White Sox

TV: NBC Sports Chicago

Stream: MLB.TV

Time: 7:40 p.m. ET/ 4:40 p.m. PT

*Watch MLB games LIVE with fuboTV (click for a free trial)*

Why The Padres Could Cover The Spread

The Padres were able to have a stellar last month of the Regular Season, but it may have been a case of “too little, too late” for the team from San Diego. Their playoff hopes faded with the recent success of the Diamondbacks and they’re likely to miss October ball after posting 11 wins in their last 13 games. Xander Bogaerts and Juan Soto have been hitting the bat well, so expect them to continue their success to close the season. The Padres have outscored opponents by 28 runs in their last 10 games, so expect them to touch home a decent amount in this one.

Nick Martinez (5-4) will start behind a 3.59 ERA through 105.1 innings of work. While he hasn’t been the biggest strikeout artist, he’s done a great job of limiting home runs and forcing ground balls throughout the season. Typically a reliever, Martinez started his last two outings and was able to pitch seven collective scoreless innings. Look for him to try and start perfect as a starter in this one.

Why The White Sox Could Cover The Spread

There’s not much left to salvage of the White Sox season, but they were able help the Padres (in a way) by delaying the Diamondbacks’ clinching efforts with a win in their last game. Their pitching was on from the start and they’re happy to be playing their last six games of the season at home. Yoan Moncada went deep and lifted his team during the close game, so expect the White Sox to have some success when they’re not playing for anything on the line.

Dylan Cease (7-8) will start with a 4.66 ERA through 172 innings of work. While his ERA is slightly better at home, he hasn’t had much luck on the season, posting just a 3-6 record. He doesn’t give up too many home runs, but he also hasn’t been consistent in limiting runner on the base paths. He’s alternated wins and losses through the last five games, with his last start being a win.

Final Padres-White Sox Prediction & Pick

Neither team is playing for much at this point and while the White Sox have home field advantage, the Padres should win this game behind their solid hitting and streaking play as of late. For our prediction, let’s go with them to win on the runline.

Final Padres-White Sox Prediction & Pick: San Diego Padres -1.5 (+106)

The post Padres vs. White Sox prediction, odds, pick, how to watch – 9/29/2023 appeared first on ClutchPoints.

Reds vs. Cardinals prediction, odds, pick, how to watch – 9/29/2023

The Cincinnati Reds will face the St. Louis Cardinals in the first battle of a three-game series with a lot on the line. We’re here to share our MLB odds series, make a Reds-Cardinals prediction, and pick while showing you how to watch.

The Reds enter the matchup with a record of 81-78. Ultimately, they split two with the Cleveland Guardians. The Reds have gone 4-6 over their past 10 games. Now, they are in a must-win scenario to make the playoffs.

The Cardinals have had a season to forget as they enter the weekend with a record of 69-99. Sadly, they lost two of three to the Milwaukee Brewers this week. The Cards have gone 6-4 over 10 games. Thus, they hope to end the season with some momentum.

The Reds will go with Brandon Williamson, who comes in with a record of 4-5 with a 4.54 ERA. Recently, he went 4 1/3 innings while allowing two earned runs on four hits in a no-decision against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Williamson threw 4 1/3 innings in his last outing against the Cardinals while allowing four runs, three earned, on four hits.

The Cardinals will go with Jake Woodford, who is 2-2 with a 5.09 ERA. Recently, he went 3 2/3 innings while allowing one earned run on four hits in a no-decision against the San Diego Padres.

The season series is tied at 5-5. Ultimately, the Reds hope to win the season series this weekend.

Here are the Reds-Cardinals MLB odds, courtesy of FanDuel. 

MLB Odds: Reds-Cardinals Odds

Cincinnati Reds: -1.5 (+138)

St. Louis Cardinals: +1.5 (-166)

Over: 9 (-120)

Under: 9 (-102)

How To Watch Reds vs. Cardinals

TV: Bally Sports Midwest and Bally Sports Ohio

Stream: MLB Extra Innings and MLB TV

Time: 8:16 PM ET/5:16 PM PT

*Watch MLB games LIVE with fuboTV (click for a free trial)*

Why The Reds Could Cover The Spread

The Reds have to win all three games. Additionally, they will be keeping an eye on the scoreboard as they need the Chicago Cubs and Miami Marlins to lose while also winning. It’s been an excellent season for the Reds. However, there is still a slim chance for the season to continue.

The Reds have had an up-and-down season. Yet, it has been enough to keep them competitive and give them a chance to make the postseason. Their hitting is excellent. Additionally, they do all the fundamentals.

Spencer Steer is batting .269 with 22 home runs, 85 RBIs, and 72 runs. Meanwhile, Elly De La Cruz is hitting .235 with 13 home runs, 40 RBIs, and 65 runs. These two have carried the Reds since they lost Matt McLain to an injury. Significantly, he was batting .290 with 16 home runs, 50 RBIs, and 65 runs. The Reds also like what they see in TJ Freidl. Ultimately, he is hitting .279 with 18 home runs, 65 RBIs, and 71 runs.

But the Reds also need better pitching. Moreover, they need their starter to give them some innings. Williamson must get into the sixth inning. Unfortunately, he has not been able to do that consistently. The Reds need him to find his pitches.

The Reds will cover the spread if the bats can string some hits together and De La Cruz can get on base. Then, they need their pitching staff to excel.

Why The Cardinals Could Cover The Spread

The Cardinals have endured plenty of misery and pain this season. Unfortunately, everything that could go wrong has gone wrong this season. The Cards are without Nolan Arenado, Nolan Forman, and Willson Contreras. Unfortunately, they all endured injuries that cut their season prematurely. But the Cardinals have other issues to deal with. Significantly, their best player has not had a good season.

Paul Goldschmidt is batting .267 with 25 home runs, 79 RBIs, and 78 runs. Ultimately, this is a “down year” by his standards. The Cardinals will need Goldschmidt to power this offense on Friday and over the final two games.

The Cardinals have also struggled on the mound. Therefore, it has been a significant reason why they are one loss away from 100 losses. Their starting pitching has been mediocre, and their bullpen has been abysmal. Thus, they need all of that to go well to have a chance against the Cards.

The Cardinals will cover the spread if Goldschmidt can batter the baseball and give his team a chance to win. Then, the pitching staff must avoid mistakes and get this Cincinnati lineup out.

Final Reds-Cardinals Prediction & Pick

The Reds are desperately seeking wins. Therefore, expect them to come out strong and do their best to try and snag this victory. The Reds will deliver enough firepower and good fundamental play to snag this game.

Final Reds-Cardinals Prediction & Pick: Cincinnati Reds: -1.5 (+138)

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