Playoff Race Update: Pirates Clinch the Playoffs; What’s Next?

One year ago today, the Pittsburgh Pirates clinched the post-season for the first time since 1992. Exactly one year later, they made it back to the playoffs, winning 3-2 over the Atlanta Braves. That, paired with a loss by the Milwaukee Brewers, was enough to clinch the post-season. The Pirates currently hold home field advantage in the Wild Card game, but might have a shot at improving their status. Here is an update on all of the races based on tonight’s results.

NL Central

Cubs 4, Cardinals 3

Pirates 3, Braves 2

The Cardinals lost in walk off fashion to the Cubs, which means the Pirates pulled to within 1.5 games of first place in the Central. The magic number for the Cardinals is four.

Wild Card

Pirates 3, Braves 2

Dodgers 4, Giants 2

Reds 3, Brewers 1

The Pirates hold a one game lead over the Giants. The Brewers haven’t been eliminated yet, although they would need San Francisco to lose out, and they would need to win the rest of their games. Even if that happens, the two teams would have a one-game tiebreaker to see who gets the second Wild Card spot. The magic number for the Pirates to clinch home field advantage would be 4.

Playoff Seeding

Here are the current playoff seeds if the season would end today. The winner of the Wild Card game would go on to play the Washington Nationals.

1. Washington

2. Los Angeles

3. St. Louis

4. Pittsburgh

5. San Francisco

Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.

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I’m tempted to say we have a two game lead over the Giants, as we win the tie breaker.


That would be correct. And assuming Kershaw does his thing and Bucs win again tonight, it’ll be three. And a sweep tomorrow locks it up.


The Cards are simply teasing us. They could easily lose to Arrieta tonight and be only 0.5 games up. And with a sweep, Bucs could tie for division tomorrow.

And then the Cards face the pitiful DBags while we get Leake, Simon & Cueto. The Cardinals are laughing themselves wet over what a cruel joke they’re playing on us right now.

Lukas Sutton

Not that its likely, but the Reds really arent playing well and clearly have checked out. Only reason they are taking down the Brewers is the Brewers offense apparently thought the season ended a week ago.


I laughed myself wet once. It was at a Chipotle and there was this joke about a Scottish party…



After watching the Cards I don’t think they are teasing anyone, they know that the freight train chasing them is for real.


What happens if the Pirates and the Cardinals end up with an identical record? Head-to-head to see who gets the division, or a one-game playoff?


One game playoff, with the loser playing in the wild card game. The one game playoff would be in St. Louis because of there head to head advantage.


Hmm. Presumably, the head to head or division record would determine where the game is played, so it would be in St. Louis. That could result in a brutal travel and game schedule if we lose in St. Louis.


Agree. I don’t like that scenario at all. Let’s just take the WC game at home and get the extra rest days before and after that game. Let SF be the ones all worried and tired out.


Great to make the postseason, the division is very possible. Time to dethrone the birds.

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