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MLB playoffs: 2022 MLB postseason bracket, schedule and format

Matt Johnson
MLB playoffs, World Series
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The 2022 Major League Baseball season is underway with a month of games already behind us. That means it’s already time to think about 2022 MLB playoffs. Let’s dive into the 2022 postseason schedule and early predictions.

Related: MLB games today – MLB schedule, TV info, scores and key dates

Bookmark this page for updates on predictions, the schedule and the bracket for the 2022 MLB playoffs. Our projected 2022 MLB postseason bracket is based on our 2022 MLB predictions from Opening Day and the latest MLB standings.

MLB playoff predictions 2022: National League

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NL No.1 seed: Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Winner of 4/5 series

The Los Angeles Dodgers enter the 2022 season with an outstanding rotation, the best lineup in MLB and an exceptional bullpen. On top of that, there is plenty of depth on the roster and a farm system with young talent capable of making an impact in 2022. When the MLB playoffs arrive, it would be a surprise if Los Angeles doesn’t have the No. 1 seed in the NL.

No. 2 seed: Milwaukee Brewers vs. Winner of 3 vs. 6 matchup

After a slow start to the season, the Milwaukee Brewers got rolling. We’ve seen more consistent moments of dominance from the starting rotation and the bullpen is electrifying. With the division one of the weakest in baseball, the path to the MLB playoffs is clear. However, the Brewers will need another impact bat to contend for the World Series.

NL Wild Card predictions

New York Mets vs St. Louis Cardinals

The New York Mets are dominating their competition right now, all at a time when Jacob deGrom is out for months and Max Scherzer isn’t pitching like a Cy Young candidate. It’s scary to think what this team might be capable of when the entire rotation is together and clicking. The biggest surprise, though, is the lineup that produces without racking up home runs. This would be a dangerous team in the MLB postseason.

Related: MLB standings 2022

As for St. Louis Cardinals, the results are mixed. Similar to New York, the Cardinals are finding ways to win games when their best pitchers – Jack Flaherty (injured list and Adam Wainwright struggles – aren’t helping. Plenty of appreciation must go to MVP candidate Nolan Arenado and a lineup that is especially strong at the top of the order.

San Diego Padres vs. San Francisco Giants

Credit to the San Diego Padres for being near the top of the MLB postseason picture even without Fernando Tatīs Jr, Blake Snell and several others. Manny Machado is the hero right now in San Diego, but Joe Musgrove is also demonstrating why he’s an underrate ace. It’s early in the season, but we’d feel pretty confident betting on the Padres to reach the playoffs.

At times it feels like the San Francisco Giants could plug anyone into their lineup and they’d still find ways to win. Carlos Rodón looks like one of the best pitchers in the sport right now and Joc Pederson (1.029 OPS) is playing out of his mind. There is a lot of season ahead, but the Giants have another great shot at finishing with a strong record and a trip to October.

In the hunt: Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, Miami Marlins

MLB playoff predictions 2022: American League

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AL No. 1 seed: New York Yankees vs. Winner of 4/5 series

The New York Yankees are dominating right now, leading the MLB standings just months after many questioned their offseason moves. Aaron Judge is among the leading AL MVP candidates and the pitching is surpassing expectations. They also have the farm system to make big additions at the MLB trade deadline, but there is still a long road to even reaching that point.

AL No. 2 seed: Los Angeles Angels vs. Winner of 3/6 matchup

Even with Shohei Ohtani not performing like a two-way phenom early in the season, the Los Angeles Angels sit atop the AL West and have a great shot at the No. 2 seed in the American League. A healthy Mike Trout makes all the difference and this team’s remarkable run is more impressive thanks to unheralded players like Taylor Ward stepping up. Los Angeles likely needs another front-line starter to really be dangerous in the MLB playoffs, but there is plenty of time to acquire one.

AL Wild Card Game predictions:

(No. 3) Minnesota Twins vs (No. 6) Houston Astros

Many wrote off the Minnesota Twins as a potential threat to win the AL Central. Thanks to Byron Buxton staying healthy and surprising performances from young starting pitching, the Twins are in first right now. It is early and the recent injuries to Carlos Carlos and Miguel Sano might prove costly. But the Twins look like a legitimate postseason threat, even if we’re inclined to believe the Chicago White Sox makeup ground and could reclaim the AL Central crown.

Related: MLB trade rumors – Xander Bogaerts viewed as July trade candidate

As for the Houston Astros, they have gone through some ups and downs early in the 2022 season. Some of that can be attributed to early struggles from Kyle Tucker and IL stints for Jose Altuve and Ryan Pressly. When everyone is healthy, this team’s pitching depth and its talent atop the lineup give it a great shot at either winning the AL West or fighting for a Wild Card spot.

(No. 4) Tampa Bay Rays vs (No. 5) Toronto Blue Jays

The Tampa Bay Rays have been struck hard by injuries this year, especially in the starting rotation. Fortunately, veteran Corey Kluber is rounding into form and Shane Baz is inching towards a return. If Randy Arozarena can heat up and Wander Franco’s soft-tissue issues in his leg heal up quickly, Tampa Bay can challenge for the AL East. At the very least, this is a legitimate playoff team.

We picked the Toronto Blue Jays to win the World Series this year. Thus far, we’ve seen flashes of a team with the talent to accomplish that but they are far short of reaching that goal. José Berríos needs to work through his issues on the mound and we’re waiting for Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to return to MVP form. Even when this team is falling short of the sky-high expectations, they are one of the best teams in the AL.

In the Hunt: Chicago White Sox, Seattle Mariners, Cleveland Guardians, Boston Red Sox

MLB Playoffs predictions

Here’s our MLB postseason predictions from before the 2022 season began.

  • National League playoffs
    • NL Wild Card: Braves over Phillies, Padres over Cardinals
    • NLDS: Dodgers over Padres, Brewers over Braves
    • NLCS: Dodgers over Brewers in 6 games
    • NL winner: Los Angeles Dodgers
  • American League playoffs:
    • AL Wild Card: White Sox over Yankees, Angels over Rays
    • ALDS: Astros over Angels, Blue Jays over White Sox
    • ALCS: Blue Jays over Astros in 5 games
    • AL winner: Toronto Blue Jays
  • 2022 World Series prediction:
    • Toronto Blue Jays over Los Angeles Dodgers in seven games
    • World Series MVP: Bo Bichette Jr.

2022 MLB playoffs format

  • No. 1 seed – Best record in National League/American League, gets first-round bye
  • No. 2 seed – Second-best record by division winner, receives first-round bye
  • No. 3 seed – Division winner with third-best record, faces No. 6 seed
  • No. 4 seed – Wild Card team with best record, hosts No. 5 seed
  • No. 5 seed – Wild Card team with second-best record, faces No. 4 seed
  • No. 6 seed – Third Wild Card team, faces No. 3 seed

The Wild Card round matchups between the No. 3 vs No. 6 and No. 4 vs No. 5 seeds are a best-of-three series. The winner of 3 vs 6 plays the No. 2 seed and 4 vs 5 faces the No. 1 seed.

When do MLB playoffs start?

MLB playoffs
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Major League Baseball releases the 2022 MLB schedule at the beginning of the offseason. The 2022 regular season concludes on Wednesday, October 5. The 2022 MLB playoffs will begin shortly after. The tentative start of the MLB playoffs is Friday, October 7.

  • National League and American League wild-card games: Begins Oct. 7
  • American League and National League Division Series: TBD
  • NL and AL Championship Series: TBD
  • 2022 World Series: TBD

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How many teams make the MLB playoffs?

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Under the new MLB CBA signed in March, 12 teams will make the MLB playoffs. It means six teams from each league (American League and National League) will be part of the postseason.

Major League Baseball expanded its playoff field in the COVID shortened 2020 season but the playoffs returned to the standard 10-team format in 2021. While league officials pushed for a 14-team MLB postseason format in 2022, players wouldn’t go for it. and settled on a 12-team playoff.

Importantly, per Jayson Stark, there will be no Game 163 tiebreakers for seeding. All MLB postseason spots will use NFL-like tiebreakers.

How MLB playoffs work

Following the expansion of the MLB postseason, implemented in the new collective-bargaining agreement, the playoffs have now expanded to 12 teams. Six teams from both the National League and American League compete for two spots in the World Series.

The MLB teams that each won their respective divisions automatically qualify for the MLB playoffs. Seedings for the division-winning teams is then determined by their final regular-season record.

There are six total Widl Card teams in the MLB postseason, three from each league. Order is determined by the MLB standings with the lowest-ranked team facing the No.3 division winner in the Wild Card round.

How many games in MLB playoffs?

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The number of games in the MLB postseason depends on how long it takes teams to win each series, ultimately advancing and being crowned World Series champion. Here is a breakdown of the length of each playoff series.

  • MLB Wild Card round: Best of 3
  • MLB Division Series: Best of 5
  • NLCS and ALCS: Best of 7
  • World Series: Best of 7

MLB postseason tiebreakers

MLB eliminated ‘Game 163’, which it used as a tiebreaker for teams to determine postseason eligibility. With its elimination, MLB is moving towards a tiebreaker system that will determine postseason eligibility and seeding for the MLB playoffs. Here is the order of determination for each MLB playoff tiebreaker.

  • 1. Head-to-Head record
  • 2. Intradivisional Record
  • 3. Interdivision Record
  • 4. Last Half of Intraleague Games
  • 5. Last Half of Intraleague Games plus one (continues until the tie is broken)

How to watch MLB postseason?

A full 2022 schedule, including broadcast information, can be found on MLB games today.

2021 MLB postseason results

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Here are the scores and results from the 2021 MLB playoffs.

National League

  • Wild Card: Los Angeles Dodgers 3, St. Louis Cardinals 1
  • Division Series: Dodgers over Giants (5 games), Braves over Brewers (4 games)
  • NLCS: Braves over Dodgers (6 games)
  • 2021 National League champions: Atlanta Braves

American League

  • Wild Card: Boston Red Sox 6, New York Yankees 1
  • Division Series: Red Sox over Rays (4 games), Astros over White Sox (4 games)
  • ALCS: Astros over Red Sox (6 games)
  • 2021 American League champions: Houston Astros

World Series 2021

  • Atlanta Braves over Houston Astros (6 games)