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2021 MLB playoffs: Who is in, who can clinch next and full playoff schedule through World Series

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Which teams pose the greatest threat as Wild Card contenders? (1:17)

Karl Ravech and Eduardo Perez give their teams they think will pose the greatest threat in the MLB playoffs as Wild Card contenders. (1:17)

October is right around the corner. Wondering which teams will be playing in the 2021 MLB playoffs? Well, we're about to find out.

With the final stretch of the Major League Baseball season in full swing, teams are getting ready to clinch postseason berths -- whether it's a division crown and a straight ride to the division series, or one of two wild-card spots to face single-game elimination play. Either way, pride -- and home-field advantage -- is at stake.

While teams appear to have their divisions locked down, the wild-card race is wide open and will likely come down to the final week -- or even the final weekend -- of the regular season, which ends Sunday, Oct. 3. Or we could have some bonus baseball on Oct. 4 if there are tiebreakers to be played heading into the postseason.

Below, we take a look at the latest in the playoff races in both the American League and National League, starting with who has clinched a postseason spot, who can clinch next and upcoming series to watch. (Check back each day as we continue to update the playoff picture.)

Key links: Full MLB standings with playoff odds | Wild-card standings | Breaking down the wild-card contenders (ESPN+) | Our September predictions


Who has already clinched a playoff spot?

Baseball's two best teams are officially in. The San Francisco Giants clinched at least a wild-card spot with a 9-1 win over the Padres on Monday. The Giants are still locked in a battle with the Los Angeles Dodgers to win the National League West, but the teams with the two best records in Major League Baseball so far this season are both assured a playoff spot, as the Dodgers clinched their own berth with an 8-4 win over the D-backs on Tuesday. The only question: Which team will go straight to the division series and which one will face a wild-card elimination game?


Who can clinch a playoff spot next?

The Milwaukee Brewers' magic number to clinch the NL Central is five.


Key series to watch this weekend

San Diego Padres at St. Louis Cardinals: After winning two of three against the Cincinnati Reds last weekend, the Cards swept the Mets and are now the leading contender for the second NL wild-card spot. Right behind them? That would be the Padres.

Toronto Blue Jays, Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees (all at home): The teams they're facing -- the Minnesota Twins, Baltimore Orioles and Cleveland Indians, respectively -- aren't a draw. But with the three AL East rivals neck-and-neck in the wild-card chase and playing simultaneously, this is what streaming was made for.


If the season ended today ...

Here's what the playoff field would look like if the season ended today (tiebreakers excluded):

American League

East champ: Tampa Bay Rays
Central champ: Chicago White Sox
West champ: Houston Astros

Wild-cards: Boston Red Sox/Toronto Blue Jays (tied)

National League

East champ: Atlanta Braves
Central champ: Milwaukee Brewers
West champ: San Francisco Giants z

First wild-card: Los Angeles Dodgers z
Second wild-card: St. Louis Cardinals

z - clinched playoff berth


Playoff schedule

Wild-card round (single-game elimination)

AL: Tuesday, Oct. 5
NL: Wednesday, Oct. 6

Division series (best of five)

ALDS A & B
Game 1: Thursday, Oct. 7
Game 2: Friday, Oct. 8
Game 3: Sunday, Oct. 10
Game 4: Monday, Oct. 11*
Game 5: Wednesday, Oct. 13*

NLDS A & B
Game 1: Friday, Oct. 8
Game 2: Saturday, Oct. 9
Game 3: Monday, Oct. 11
Game 4: Tuesday, Oct. 12*
Game 5: Thursday, Oct. 14*

Championship series (best of seven)

ALCS
Game 1: Friday, Oct. 15
Game 2: Saturday, Oct. 16
Game 3: Monday, Oct. 18
Game 4: Tuesday, Oct. 19
Game 5: Wednesday, Oct. 20*
Game 6: Friday, Oct. 22*
Game 7: Saturday, Oct. 23*

NLCS
Game 1: Saturday, Oct. 16
Game 2: Sunday, Oct. 17
Game 3: Tuesday, Oct. 19
Game 4: Wednesday, Oct. 20
Game 5: Thursday, Oct. 21*
Game 6: Saturday, Oct. 23*
Game 7: Sunday, Oct. 24*

World Series (best of seven)

Game 1: Tuesday, Oct. 26
Game 2: Wednesday, Oct. 27
Game 3: Friday, Oct. 29
Game 4: Saturday, Oct. 30
Game 5: Sunday, Oct. 31*
Game 6: Tuesday, Nov. 2*
Game 7: Wednesday, Nov. 3*

* If necessary