How does the Wildcard race fit into the MLB Playoffs?



I’m watching Game 1 of Braves vs. Cardinals and I realized I don’t understand how the Wildcard fits into all this. Dumb it down for me?

In: Other

Each league has 3 divisions. When they went to the 3 division format in 1994, they added a wildcard race (because with 3 division winners you end up with an odd number of playoff teams.)

The old wildcard format was that the team with the best record among non-division winners made the playoffs, and they played against the division winner with the best record in the Division Series.

Nowadays (since about 5 years ago,) the 2 best non-division winners play each other in a one game playoff, and the winner faces the League winner.

So in the NL, the Braves are in because they won the NL East, the Cardinals are in because they won the NL Central, and the other NLDS is the NL West champion Dodgers against the wildcard Nationals – the Nationals won the wildcard game against the Brewers on Tuesday.

There are three divisions in each league. The wild card takes the best two teams from each league that didn’t win their division and those two teams then play eachother in one game to see who is the 4th seed in their league.