In case you hadn’t heard, MLB expanded the playoffs for this October, adding two more wild cards to increase the field from 10 to 12 teams. So how will that work?
The top two division-winners in each league receive first-round byes, meaning they won’t play until the Division Series begin on Oct. 11 (the regular season ends on Oct. 5, so that’s a fairly big layoff by baseball standards).
As for the wild-card round, the division winner with the worst record (No. 3 seed) will play the last wild-card team (the No. 6 seed), with all three games of that series hosted by the higher seed. The other two wild-card teams (seeds 4 and 5) will do the same. For the Division Series, each league’s No. 1 seed will face the 4-5 winner and the No. 2 plays the 3-6 winner (there is no re-seeding after the first round).
The Division Series still is best-of-five (2-2-1 format, beginning Oct. 11). The LCS round remains the same best-of-seven (2-3-2 format, beginning Oct. 18-19) as does the World Series (beginning Oct. 28).
With roughly a month to go, how those playoffs would look (through Friday’s games):
1. Astros (bye)
2. Yankees (bye)
3. Guardians host Blue Jays (6) in wild-card round
4. Rays host Mariners (5) in wild-card round
1. Dodgers (bye)
2. Mets (bye)
3. Cardinals host Phillies (6) in wild-card round
4. Atlanta hosts Padres (5) in wild-card round