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How the National League tiebreakers shook out on the final day of the 2020 season

Four teams are competing for two playoff sports in the National League. We break down the tiebreakers and how the day could settle.

Keston Hiura of the Milwaukee Brewers beats Kolten Wong of the St. Louis Cardinals to second base for a force out in the first inning at Busch Stadium on September 26, 2020 in St Louis, Missouri. Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Final update: The Giants lost to the Padres on Sunday, and so the Brewers clinch the final playoff spot in the 2020 MLB Playoff bracket.

UPDATE: The Cardinals beat the Brewers to clinch second place in the NL Central. The Brewers now await the result of the Giants game. The Phillies lost and if the Giants don’t come back, the Brewers will clinch the final wild card berth.

Major League Baseball has arrived at the final day of the 2020 regular season, and there is a chance for some chaos. We know the eight teams participating in the American League playoff field, with mostly just wild card and second place seeding being finalized. On the other hand, the National League still has to determine its final two teams and there are four squads competing for those spots. Thanks to MLB.com for help sorting out the impending chaos.

Which teams can claim a playoff berth?

The St. Louis Cardinals, Milwaukee Brewers, San Francisco Giants, and Philadelphia Phillies are all alive for the final two spots in the National League.

What are the tiebreakers if two or more teams are tied at the end of Sunday?

The first tiebreaker is head-to-head record. If that’s tied or the two teams have not played this season, the next tiebreaker is intradivision record. If that’s also tied, the next is record in the final 20 division games (plus one until the tie is broken).

Who leads heading into Sunday’s schedule?

The Cardinals and Brewers are the top two teams. The Cardinals are in second place in the NL Central ahead of the Cincinnati Reds by percentage points due to fewer games played. The Brewers are in fourth place in the NL Central and tied with the Giants. Milwaukee has the better intra-division record than the Giants (19-20 vs. 18-21). The Phillies are a game back of the Brewers and Giants and has a 21-19 division record.

What’s Sunday’s schedule for these teams?

Padres @ Giants — 3:05 p.m.
Phillies @ Rays — 3:10 p.m.
Brewers @ Cardinals — 3:15 p.m.

How can the Cardinals claim a playoff berth?

1. If they beat the Brewers they are in.
2. If they lose to Brewers, the Giants lose, and the Phillies win
3. If they lose to the Brewers and the Giants win, St. Louis would be required to play at least one of their two makeup games against Detroit on Monday. They would get two shots in a doubleheader, but if they beat Detroit once on Monday, they would claim the playoff spot over San Francisco.

How can the Brewers claim a playoff berth?

1. If they beat the Cardinals they are in.
2. If they lose to the Cardinals and the Giants and Phillies both lose.

How can the Giants claim a playoff berth?

1. If they win and the Cardinals beat the Brewers
2. If the Brewers beat the Cardinals and the Giants win, St. Louis would be required to play at least one of their two makeup games against Detroit on Monday. If St. Louis lost both games of the double-header, the Giants would claim the final playoff spot.

How can the Phillies claim a playoff berth?

1. If the Phillies win and the Giants and Brewers both lose.

What do league championship odds tell us about these scenarios?

DraftKings Sportsbook has odds on who will win the World Series and who will claim each of the two league championships. Heading into Sunday, the Cardinals are +1500 to win the NL pennant, the Brewer are +1600, the Giants are +2000, and the Phillies are +2500.

The Cardinals and the Brewers are the only two of the four that can get in with just a win of their own. The Giants and Phillies don’t have “control over their own destinies,” and so they get slightly longer odds to get in later today.