How does the mlb wild card work? Major League Baseball unveiled a postseason format in 2022 that expanded both the pool of teams and the Wild Card round. Here are answers to questions you might have about the format.
How many teams reach the postseason?
The bracket-style postseason involves 12 teams (six from each league) — an increase from 10 teams (five in each league) in the previous format. That includes the three division winners in each league and three Wild Card teams per league.
Will the MLB playoffs have reseeding?
There will be no reseeding in this format. The winner of the No. 4- and 5-seeded matchup will advance to the Division Series and play the No. 1 seed. The winner of the No. 3 and 6 seeded series will take on the No. 2 seed. The goal is to keep the No. 1 seed from having to face a divisional winner until the League Championship Round.
How many teams make the playoffs in MLB Wild Card standings?
Three. In total, 12 MLB teams make the postseason, six from the American League and six from the National League.
Three of each of those buckets make the playoffs via a wild card spot after three division winners from each of the AL and NL earn an automatic berth.
This is a recent change, as the postseason field expanded in 2022 from five teams to six teams in each league, eliminating the single wild card game.
How is all that seeded?
Seeding for the six teams gives preference to the division winners over team record. The division winners earn the first three seeds, in order of record. The three wild card teams are then seeded 4-6 in order of best record.
The top two seeds receive byes and don’t play in the wild card round, but the third division winner must play the third wild card team in the wild card round, which is a three-game series.
What happens if you’re a wild card team?
Diamondbacks fans most recently experienced the single-game wild card format that is now gone. In 2017, D-backs reliever Archie Bradley hit a triple to highlight a win against the Colorado Rockies that put Arizona in the divisional series where they lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
No more is that single-elimination wild card game used from 2012-19 and again in 2021. Now, wild card teams get a best-of-three series.
When and where are wild card series played?
The higher seed of the wild card series matchups will host all three (if necessary) games.
In 2023, every wild card series will take place from Oct. 3-4 and then Oct. 5 if a third game is needed.
How long are the following series?
The divisional series will be a best-of-five series, while the league championships and World Series rounds are best-of-seven.
Reseeding will not happen after the wild card round.
What are the tiebreakers?
If two teams finish tied, their head-to-head record will determine the higher seed. The D-backs own the tiebreaker over the Cubs but not the Marlins or Reds.
The Marlins and Reds are 3-3 against each other, though. The next tie-breaker is divisional record, regardless if the two clubs play in the same division or not.
If three clubs tie for one spot, the team with the better record against the other two clinches the spot. For example, if the D-backs, Cubs and Reds all finish with the same record, the Reds would benefit since they own the season series against both opponents.
What is a wild card?
A Wild Card is a way to give playoff berths to teams that do not finish first in their division. With the recent expansion of the Wild Card, three teams advance in the Wild Card in the American League, and four teams advance in the Nation League.
In the Wild Card playoff games, the lowest-ranked division winner squares off against the lowest Wild Card winner. The other two Wild Card teams play each other. It is a best-out-of-3 series that goes by pretty quickly. The winners go on to play the high divisional winners.
When did wild cards start in baseball?
The Wild Card began in 1994. Only one team would be given a playoff berth when first included in the MLB. Nearly 20 years later, the MLB added another team to the Wild Card berths in 2012. This made two teams advance through the A.L. and the N.L. These two teams would play one game to decide who moved on.
In 2022, the MLB decided to add a third team to each league. With the new format, two Wild Card teams play each other in a best-of-3 series while the other Wild Card team plays the lowest division winner. It was also made new that the Wild Card games would now be a series instead of a single game. This was probably the best idea for the league to avoid any controversy. Anything can happen in just one game.
The expansion of two wild card teams in 2012
The MLB was steadily losing viewers in the postseason in the years leading up to this rule change. People were complaining about the slowness of the game while also begging for more opportunities to make the playoffs. They responded hugely by creating a do-or-die match for the Wild Card.
In 2012, the MLB decided to upgrade Wild Card berths from one per league to two per league. With this being done, the two teams would play a single game to determine who moved on to the next round of the playoffs. The winner would play the highest-ranked division winner. Some people loved this decision, but it definitely left fans wanting more.
How do the wild cards work in the MLB?
There are three divisions in both the American League and the National League. This adds up to six total divisions in Major League Baseball. Each division winner automatically advances to the playoffs.
To give more opportunities to non-division winners, the MLB created the Wild Card. Every team that is not in first place in its division will be in the Wild Card standings. For example, an outstanding division will be filled with Wild Card teams. The second-place team could finish with 95 wins and still qualify for the Wild Card. This would put them way ahead of the rest of the field.
How many games are in the MLB wild card round?
As of 2022, there are four separate series in the Wild Card round. The expansion to three Wild Card teams brought down the lowest division winner, who is now forced to play in this round. Each series now plays a series that consists of a maximum of three games. The first team to win two games moves on to the next round of the playoffs. There is a maximum of 12 games played in the Wild Card round and a minimum of 8 games.
How many wild card teams are there in the new format?
Previously, only two Wild Card teams were from each league in the playoffs. At the beginning of 2022, there were now three Wild Card teams from both the American and National League. These three teams duke it out to try and advance to the divisional series. In total, there are now six Wild Card teams per year in the MLB.
Why did MLB change the postseason format?
MLB has made many changes to the game in the past ten years. Many believe it results from plummeting ratings and attention to the league. Fans across the nation have complained that the game has gotten extremely slow. The entertainment factor is no longer in play with a slow game.
At the end of the day, it’s all about money—if there is no entertainment, there is no money. The MLB decided the best way to bring excitement back to this game was by expanding the playoffs. It has proven quite effective, as teams that haven’t seen the playoffs in 30 or more years are now playing in them. This is huge for the league, as the ratings are showing.
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