The 2023 MLB postseason field was settled Saturday night, with the Miami Marlins, Arizona Diamondbacks, Texas Rangers, Houston Astros and Toronto Blue Jays all clinching playoff berths. While the wild-card matchups should be finalized Sunday, we now know which 12 teams will be playing in October.
Miami Marlins (84-76): The Marlins were the first team to punch their ticket Saturday, beating the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-3 on the road to claim their first full-season playoff berth since 2003. They appeared in the 16-team postseason following the shortened 2020 season. Miami’s win ended the playoff hopes of the Chicago Cubs, in spite of their 10-6 win over the Milwaukee Brewers.
This is the second time Miami has earned a postseason berth since it won the 2003 World Series in six games over the New York Yankees.
It’s an achievement not many expected, as the Marlins started the season with a 25.6 percent chance of making the playoffs according to FanGraphs’ postseason odds. But Miami, despite only going 31-37 since the All-Star Break, never completely faded after a surprisingly strong start that saw it at 48-34 on June 29.
The Marlins used eight pitchers to defeat the Pirates and collected 14 hits. Three of those came from Jazz Chisholm Jr., who hit his 19th home run of the regular season.
Arizona Diamondbacks (84-77): The Diamondbacks also claimed an NL wild-card spot, getting in when the Cincinnati Reds suffered a 15-6 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. Arizona lost its second-straight game to the Astros on Saturday, despite getting seven innings of one-run ball from starter Merrill Kelly in a 1-0 loss. The Diamondbacks are currently half a game behind Miami due to the Marlins’ suspended game against the New York Mets. Miami holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over Arizona, having won four of six in the regular-season series.
Texas Rangers (90-71): The Rangers claimed a playoff berth with a 6-1 win over the Seattle Mariners. The Rangers got to Mariners starter Luis Castillo early, forcing him out of the game after 2 2/3 innings as he gave up four runs on five hits and five walks. Due to Houston’s win over Arizona, the Rangers could not claim the AL West title Saturday, but could do so with a win or Astros loss Sunday.
Houston Astros (89-72): The Astros got five shutout innings from Justin Verlander – who will make his 10th career postseason – and four more from a bullpen combination of Phil Maton, Kendall Graveman, Hector Neris and Bryan Abreu to clinch Houston’s seventh straight playoff appearance. In doing so, the Astros eliminated the Mariners from postseason contention.
Toronto Blue Jays (89-72): The Rangers’ win also secured a wild-card spot for the Blue Jays, who lost 7-5 to the Tampa Bay Rays in 10 innings earlier Saturday.
So, what’s left to be decided?
Matchups. Here are the scenarios left to be decided Sunday:
AL West Title: If the Rangers beat the Mariners on Sunday or the Astros lose, Texas will win the division. If the Astros defeat the Diamondbacks and the Rangers lose to the Mariners, the Astros will win the division, as they hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Rangers.
AL Wild Cards: The Blue Jays will clinch the second AL wild card (and face Tampa in the wild-card series) with a win OR a Houston loss Sunday. If the Astros end up winning the AL West and Texas and Toronto finish with the same record, the Rangers hold the tiebreaker over the Blue Jays and would head to Tampa Bay while Toronto would go to Minnesota.
NL Wild Cards: The Marlins hold a tiebreaker over the Diamondbacks, along with a current half-game lead. If Miami wins Sunday (or Arizona loses), Monday’s suspended game against the Mets will not impact the wild-card seeding.
(Top photo: Joe Sargent/Getty Images)