I was going to wait until later this weekend to post this, but today's game is/was so boring I've got the time now. Let me also say I'm not saying the playoff lineup is set or that the Phillies will be in the playoffs, just basing this on what appears likely.
I became curious how often the set of teams returning to the playoffs was the same or nearly the same from year to year, since a number of people have commented about the possibility of a Dodgers-Phillies rematch in October. So, I decided to look at the year-to-year lineup of the eight teams that made the playoffs each year since 1995, the first year for the wild card format. A couple of interesting points appeared, plus the general theme that on average two teams in each league will be repeaters from the previous year, but the American League has significantly more repetition among its playoff participants. Right now, the odds favor each league having two repeaters and two teams that didn't make it last year - although saying the Yankees' making it is a change sounds a bit misleading.
Each league has been dominated by one team as far as playoff appearances go: the Yankees have been in 13 of 14 years so far, with another appearance virtually assured. The Braves were in the playoffs 11 years in a row. No one else is that close in either league. The Red Sox appear headed to their 9th playoff spot; the Indians have been 6 times; and the Angels will make it 6 this year. Runners-up in the NL are the Cardinals, headed to their 8th playoff spot. Next highest, surprisingly, is Houston, with 6 trips to the post-season.
Only once has a league had a complete slate of four new contenders that hadn't been there the year before. That was in 2007 in the NL. And only once have all four teams repeated: 1999 in the AL. Because the Yankees and, to some extent, either the Indians or Red Sox were so consistent in making the post-season, the AL average for repeat teams per year is 2.43. The NL average is only 1.79.
Finally, as the Phillies close in on their third straight playoff appearance I thought it might be worth noting the few teams besides the Yankees and Braves that have done that: Indians, 1995-99; Astros, 1997-99; A's, 2000-03; Cardinals, 2000-02; Twins, 2002-04; Red Sox, 2003-05; and Cardinals, 2004-06. The Phillies, Angels, and Red Sox could all make it three straight this year.