The MLB 2021 regular season has entered its final day, and several postseason spots are on the line.
With a win over the San Diego Padres on Sept. 13, the San Francisco Giants officially clinched a spot playing October baseball -- the team’s first playoff berth since 2016.
With a win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sept. 14, the Los Angeles Dodgers followed suit by clinching a postseason berth for a ninth straight season. The Milwaukee Brewers, Tampa Bay Rays, Chicago White Sox, St. Louis Cardinals, Houston Astros and Atlanta Braves also clinched spots in the 2021 playoffs, leaving just the two AL wild card spots to be determined with four teams in the mix.
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What other squads are close to securing a berth in the 2021 postseason? Let’s take a look at where each team stands in the race for a playoff spot:
What is a “magic number” in MLB?
If you’re a baseball fan, you’ve probably heard the phrase “magic number.” The term is used to explain how close a team is to winning its division or clinching a spot in the postseason.
The magic number reflects the combination of wins needed by a given team (Team A) and losses by the team’s closest competitor (Team B) to clinch. The exact formula is as follows:
Magic number = Team A's games remaining + 1 - (losses by Team B - losses by Team A)
Therefore, every time your team wins, its magic number gets smaller by one. The magic number can also decrease by one every time your team’s closest competitor (in the race to win the division or make the Wild Card Game) loses.
What is each MLB team’s magic number?
Here is a breakdown of each MLB team’s magic number for the 2021 postseason, as of the games played on Oct. 2.
National League East
Atlanta Braves - CLINCHED
Philadelphia Phillies - ELIMINATED
New York Mets - ELIMINATED
Miami Marlins - ELIMINATED
Washington Nationals - ELIMINATED
National League Central
Milwaukee Brewers - CLINCHED
St. Louis Cardinals - CLINCHED
Cincinnati Reds - ELIMINATED
Chicago Cubs - ELIMINATED
Pittsburgh Pirates - ELIMINATED
National League West
San Francisco Giants - CLINCHED
Los Angeles Dodgers - CLINCHED
San Diego Padres - ELIMINATED
Colorado Rockies - ELIMINATED
Arizona Diamondbacks - ELIMINATED
American League East
Tampa Bay Rays - CLINCHED
Boston Red Sox - 1
New York Yankees - 1
Toronto Blue Jays - 3
Baltimore Orioles - ELIMINATED
American League Central
Chicago White Sox - CLINCHED
Cleveland Indians - ELIMINATED
Detroit Tigers - ELIMINATED
Kansas City Royals - ELIMINATED
Minnesota Twins - ELIMINATED
American League West
Houston Astros - CLINCHED
Seattle Mariners - 3
Oakland Athletics - ELIMINATED
Los Angeles Angels - ELIMINATED
Texas Rangers - ELIMINATED
When does the MLB 2021 postseason begin?
The 2021 postseason will begin on Tuesday, Oct. 5, after the regular season ends on Sunday, Oct. 3. The postseason will kick off with the American League Wild Card Game, followed by the National League Wild Card Game on Wednesday, Oct. 6.
The division series will begin on Oct. 7 and Game 1 of the 2021 World Series is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 26.
Who has the best odds to win the World Series?
The reigning World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers are favored to take the title again in 2021 with +325 odds, according to PointsBet.