MLB standings 2023: Updated playoff bracket, magic numbers as of Sept. 21

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Adley Rutschman (left), Christian Yelich (middle), Justin Verlander (right)
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The 2023 MLB season is winding down, and there is a mixture of close battles and landslides.

It has been clear for months now that the Braves will win the NL East. It has been clear for over a month the Dodgers will win the NL West and the Twins will win the AL Central. 

But much of the playoff field remains unsettled. The race for the AL East is heating up between two teams all but guaranteed to be reach the postseason in the Orioles and the Rays, with not just the division title but the first overall seed in the American League on the line. The AL West is a similar gauntlet between the Astros, Rangers and Mariners, with three teams all within striking distance of the division title.

The National League wild-card race has two clear frontrunners in the Phillies and Cubs, but that third spot is up for grabs as the Diamondbacks, Reds, Marlins and Giants all vie for the chance to head to the winner of the NL Central division in the wild-card round.

MORE: Which MLB managers are on the hot seat?

As the season wears down, Sporting News will be tracking the magic numbers and elimination numbers for all teams in the playoff race. Fans of teams currently in position for the postseason will be waiting for those magic numbers to tick down, while fans on the outside are looking at the elimination number and seeing that hope still remains.

Here's what you need to know about the stretch run of the season.

MLB standings 2023

American League playoff bracket

Standings updated after games of Sept. 22

SeedTeamDivisionRecordWin pct.
4 (WC)Rays*East94-60.610
5 (WC)Blue JaysEast85-68.556
6 (WC)Mariners/RangersWest84-68.553

American League wild-card standings

  • WC1: Rays, 94-60 (.608), +9
  • WC2: Blue Jays, 85-68 (.559), +0.5
  • WC3: Mariners/Rangers, 84-68 (.553) 

  • Yankees, 77-76 (.503), 8 GB
  • Red Sox, 75-78 (.490), ELIMINATED
  • Guardians, 72-81 (.471), ELIMINATED
  • Tigers, 71-81 (.467), ELIMINATED
  • Angels, 69-83 (.454), ELIMINATED
  • White Sox, 58-95 (.379), ELIMINATED
  • Royals, 51-102 (.333), ELIMINATED
  • Athletics, 46-106 (.303), ELIMINATED

National League playoff bracket

Standings updated after games of Sept. 21

SeedTeamDivisionRecordWin pct.
4 (WC)PhilliesEast84-69.549
5 (WC)DiamondbacksWest81-72.529
6 (WC)Cubs/MarlinsCentral/East79-74.516

National League wild-card standings

  • WC1: Phillies, 84-69 (.549), +5
  • WC2: Diamondbacks, 81-72 (.529), +2
  • WC3: Cubs/Marlins, 79-73 (.520)

  • Reds, 79-75 (.513), 0.5 GB
  • Giants, 76-77 (.500), 3 GB
  • Padres, 75-78 (.490), 4 GB
  • Pirates, 72-81 (.471), 7 GB
  • Mets, 71-82 (.462), 8 GB
  • Nationals, 68-85 (.444), ELIMINATED
  • Cardinals, 67-85 (.441), ELIMINATED
  • Rockies, 56-96 (.368), ELIMINATED

* Indicates clinched postseason berth
** Indicates clinched division title

MLB magic numbers for 2023

Fans are starting to count down the numbers until their teams officially punch their tickets to the postseason. For some, like the Braves, Dodgers, Orioles and Rays, it's been a foregone conclusion for some time.

The math behind magic numbers is simple. Add one team's wins and the losses of the trailing team, then subtract it from 163. If a team leading the division has 90 wins and the second-place team has 63 losses, their magic number would sit at 10.

Sporting News will be tracking those magic numbers in the division races and wild card rounds. Info comes from The first number is for teams leading the division or wild-card races, and their magic number to reach the playoffs. The second number is the elimination number for teams trailing the division or wild-card races, and how far they are from playoff elimination. Two x's means a team has been eliminated from that race.

Updated after end of games on Sept. 21.

AL East

  1. Orioles, 8/x
  2. Rays, x/8
  3. Blue Jays, x/x
  4. Yankees, x/x
  5. Red Sox, x/x

AL Central

  1. Twins, 1/x
  2. Guardians, x/1
  3. Tigers, x/1
  4. White Sox, x/x
  5. Royals, x/x

AL West

  1. Astros, 10/x
  2. Mariners, x/10
  3. Rangers, x/10
  4. Angels, x/x
  5. Athletics, x/x

AL Wild Card

  1. Rays, 2/x
  2. Blue Jays, 10/x
  3. Mariners, 11/x
  4. Rangers, x/11
  5. Yankees, x/3
  6. Red Sox, x/1
  7. Guardians, x/x
  8. Tigers, x/x
  9. Angels, x/x
  10. White Sox, x/x
  11. Royals, x/x
  12. Athletics, x/x

NL East

  1. Braves, x/x (clinched division championship)
  2. Phillies, x/x
  3. Marlins, x/x
  4. Mets, x/x
  5. Nationals, x/x

NL Central

  1. Brewers, 4/x
  2. Cubs, x/2
  3. Reds, x/1
  4. Pirates, x/x
  5. Cardinals, x/x

NL West

  1. Dodgers, x/x (clinched division championship)
  2. Diamondbacks, x/x
  3. Giants, x/x
  4. Padres, x/x
  5. Rockies, x/x

NL Wild Card

  1. Phillies, 6/x
  2. Diamondbacks, 8/x
  3. Cubs, 10/x
  4. Marlins, x/10
  5. Reds, x/9
  6. Giants, x/8
  7. Padres, x/6
  8. Pirates, x/3
  9. Mets, x/3
  10. Cardinals, x/x
  11. Nationals, x/x
  12. Rockies, x/x
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Edward Sutelan is a content producer at The Sporting News.