Postseason watch: Mets clinch berth; Astros, Dodgers clinch byes

For the first time since 2016, the Mets are headed to the playoffs. New York’s 7-2 win over Milwaukee gave them the second playoff berth in the NL, as the Dodgers locked up a spot last week. Right on the Mets’ tail, though, are their division rivals, the Braves. Atlanta can clinch a playoff berth as early as Tuesday as the NL East race remains wide open.

Speaking of the Dodgers, a win over Arizona on Monday gave them a first-round bye and home-field advantage through the NLDS. At 102 wins, they are sitting pretty at the top of MLB and could be on their way to home-field all the way through the World Series.

On the other side of the bracket, the Astros took home the AL West crown for the fifth time in the past six years. Their 4-0 win over the Rays not only gave them the division title, but also a first-round bye and home-field advantage through the ALDS. Up next for Houston will be home-field through the ALCS, as they currently hold the top spot in the league.

While a lot can happen in the standings between now and when the postseason starts on Oct. 7, here is what the playoff picture looks like heading into Tuesday.

Reminder: As part of the new collective bargaining agreement with the Players Association, Major League Baseball expanded the postseason field from 10 to 12 teams ahead of the 2022 season. Both the AL and NL now have three Wild Card berths (up from two), with the top two seeds in each league receiving first-round byes. The other teams will pair up for the best-of-three Wild Card Series, in which all three games will be played at the home of the higher seed, with winners advancing to the Division Series.

IF THE SEASON ENDED TODAY:
AL Wild Card Series (starts Oct. 7)
Best-of-three format (all games at higher seed)
Mariners (6) at Guardians (3)
Rays (5) at Blue Jays (4)

Astros (1) and Yankees (2) have byes

NL Wild Card Series (Oct. 7)
Best-of-three format (all games at higher seed)
Phillies (6) at Cardinals (3)
Padres (5) at Braves (4)

Dodgers (1) and Mets (2) have byes

AL Division Series (starts Oct. 11)
Best-of-five format
Blue Jays/Rays at Astros
Mariners/Guardians at Yankees

NL Division Series (starts Oct. 11)
Best-of-five format
Padres/Braves at Dodgers
Phillies/Cardinals at Mets

Who has clinched: The Dodgers, the Astros and the Mets.

Who is next: The Braves (91-55) have a magic number of 2 to clinch a postseason berth.

3 key games from Monday
Dodgers 5, D-backs 2
Astros 4, Rays 0
Mets 7, Brewers 2

3 key games Tuesday
Blue Jays at Phillies, 6:45 p.m. ET
Nationals at Braves, 7:20 p.m. ET
Guardians at White Sox, 8:10 p.m. ET

Tight races to watch
AL Central:
 Guardians lead White Sox by 4 games

NL East: Mets lead Braves by 1 game

AL Wild Card: Blue Jays lead Rays by 1.5 games for 1st berth, Rays lead Mariners by 0.5 games for 2nd berth

NL Wild Card: Padres lead Phillies by 0.5 games for 2nd berth, Phillies lead Brewers by 2.5 games for 3rd berth

**Trending up: **The Mets won five straight en route to clinching a playoff spot, keeping them in the top spot in the NL East race.

Trending down: The Phillies have lost four straight to drop them to the third NL Wild Card slot with the Brewers within striking distance at 2.5 games back.

CONTENDER BREAKDOWN

Clinched postseason berth: Dodgers, Astros, Mets
Almost there (90% postseason odds or better): Braves, Yankees, Cardinals, Blue Jays, Mariners, Rays, Guardians
In good shape (50-89% postseason odds): Padres, Phillies
In the mix (10-49% postseason odds): Brewers, White Sox
Still alive (Postseason odds above 0%): Twins, Orioles