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Northern Star

Guide to the 2023 MLB Playoffs

Arizona Diamondbacks’ Evan Longoria hits a single during the sixth inning of a Game 1 of their National League wildcard baseball series against the Milwaukee Brewers Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

DeKALB – After six months and 162 games worth of regular season baseball, the MLB playoffs begin Tuesday. Only the top six teams from both the American League and the National League remain for their chance at history. Here is what you need to know heading into the MLB playoffs.

The Wild Card Round will run from Tuesday through Thursday and feature the No. 6 seed taking on the No. 3 seed and the No. 5 seed taking on the No. 4 seed in both the American League and National League. The top two seeds from both leagues receive a bye in the Wild Card Round and will host the division series starting Saturday.

The Wild Card Round is played in a best of three game format, with the higher seeded team hosting all three games.


At 84-78, the Diamondbacks earned the final NL Wild Card spot and reached the postseason for the first time since the 2017 season. The strength of this Arizona squad is built in its starting pitching. Led by pitchers Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly, the Diamondbacks have the roster necessary to win a short series and pull off a possible upset.

The Brewers finished 92-70 en route to an NL Central title and their fifth playoff appearance in the last six years. Similar to Arizona, Milwaukee is led by dominant pitching. 2021 NL Cy Young Award Winner Corbin Burnes and Freddy Peralta lead the starting rotation, while Devin Williams and his career 1.89 ERA bolsters the bullpen. 

I believe this will be a very low scoring series and both pitching staffs will perform as advertised. I think that Milwaukee’s playoff experience will help them in what should be some very close, high leverage games. The Brewers take this series 2-1 over the Diamondbacks. The winner of this series will travel to Los Angeles to take on the No. 2 seeded Dodgers in the NLDS.


With a record of 84-77, the Marlins earned a playoff berth for just the fourth time in their 31 year history. The Marlins were one of the surprise teams of the 2023 season as not many people believed this squad would make the playoffs in a division that features the Atlanta Braves, the Phillies, and the New York Mets. However, led by 2023 NL batting champ Luis Arraez and first year manager Skip Schumaker, Miami qualified for the playoffs for the first time in a 162 game season since 2003.

The Phillies earned a Wild Card berth for the second consecutive season with a 90-72 record, and look to defend their National League title from the 2022 season. After a surprise run to the World Series last season, including upsetting the division rival Braves in the NLDS, the Phillies are poised for another deep run. Familiar faces such as Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber and J.T. Realmuto remain, while newcomers such as Trea Turner and Craig Kimbrel look to help Philadelphia get over the hump. 

While the Marlins reaching the postseason was an unexpected and impressive feat, I believe their run ends here. Simply put, the Phillies have a more powerful offense, the better starting pitching and a stronger bullpen. The Phillies win this series 2-0. The winner of this series will travel to Atlanta to take on the No. 1 seeded Braves in the NLDS.


At 89-73, the Blue Jays clinched their third playoff berth of the last four seasons, and are looking for their first series win since 2016. This is a well-balanced Toronto team that features some great hitters such as Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and George Springer and a strong starting rotation which includes Kevin Gausman, Jose Berrios and Chris Bassitt. The Blue Jays will look to avenge their 2-0 defeat to the Seattle Mariners in the 2022 Wild Card Round. 

Despite having a worse record than the Blue Jays, the 87-75 Twins will host Toronto by virtue of winning the AL Central division. The Twins have lost an astounding 18 consecutive playoff games dating back to 2004, but the 2023 squad will look to change that. Contrary to Twins teams of the recent past which were built on offense and power hitting, this Twins team is led by a surprisingly strong pitching staff which includes starters Pablo Lopez and Sonny Gray and dominant closer Jhoan Duran.

I think that the pitching in this series is almost a wash, with both teams featuring excellent starting pitching and an above-average bullpen. However, I believe Toronto’s offense will be too much for Minnesota to keep up with. I believe that the Twins postseason struggles continue, and Toronto takes this series 2-0. The winner of this series will travel to Houston to take on the No. 2 seeded Astros in the ALDS.


After leading the AL West for 159 days, the 90-72 Rangers were passed by the Houston Astros for first place in the division on the last day of the season, finishing in second in the AL West. This is the Rangers’ first playoff berth since 2016, and they will be looking for their first series win since 2011. Texas’ high-powered offense is led by potential MVP candidate Corey Seager and Adolis Garcia. The pitching staff is also much improved from years past, led by Nathan Eovaldi, Dane Dunning and Jordan Montgomery.


Finishing with a 99-63 record, the Rays clinched their fifth consecutive playoff berth, but fell just short of an AL East title to the 101-61 Baltimore Orioles. The offense is led by the always electric Randy Arozarena and 2023 AL batting champ Yandy Diaz, but the pitching is where this team shines. Tyler Glasnow and Zach Eflin are at the front end of a dominant staff from top to bottom. The Rays are looking to improve upon their 2-0 loss to the Cleveland Guardians in the 2022 Wild Card round, in which they scored just one run in 24 innings. 


In addition to the dominant pitching Tampa Bay always has no matter who is on the roster, I believe the Rays postseason experience will help them win a highly competitive 2-1 series over Texas. The winner of this series will travel to Baltimore to take on the No. 1 seeded Orioles.

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