How many games is mlb wild card? In 2022, Major League Baseball (MLB) introduced a new postseason format, expanding the pool of teams and making significant changes to the Wild Card round.
This revamped format now includes a total of 12 teams, with an even distribution of six teams from each league, namely the American League and the National League.
This marks a notable increase from the previous postseason format, which featured 10 teams, with five from each league. Within this expanded playoff field, there are three division winners from each league, as well as three Wild Card teams per league.
One of the most prominent changes in this new format is the elimination of the Wild Card Game, which had been in use from 2012 to 2019 and then reinstated in 2021. Instead, the Wild Card Game has been replaced by a best-of-three Wild Card Series, offering a more extended and competitive opportunity for Wild Card teams to advance.
In the Wild Card Series, the No. 3 seed squares off against the No. 6 seed, while the No. 4 seed competes against the No. 5 seed. These Wild Card Series games are played at the home ground of the team with the higher seed, creating a fair but competitive environment.
The winners of these series move forward to the Division Series, while the losers are eliminated from postseason contention.
Is the MLB Division Series best of 5?
Throughout this revamped postseason structure, the Division Series retains its best-of-five format, featuring a 2-2-1 structure, with home-field advantage granted to the higher seed.
The League Championship Series and the World Series rounds continue to be best-of-seven series, following a 2-3-2 format, with home-field advantage based on regular-season records.
Finally, for the World Series, home-field advantage is awarded to the team with the best overall regular-season record in MLB, regardless of its postseason seeding within its respective league.
In cases where two teams share identical regular-season records, tiebreaker rules are applied to determine home-field advantage.
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.
Which team gets home-field advantage in the World Series?
The team with the best record in the regular season gets to begin the World Series (and potentially host Game 7) at their home ballpark regardless of playoff seeding. If two teams have the same record, they use a tiebreaker system based on the division tiebreaker rules.
MLB SEASON OVERVIEW
A quick recap on the MLB regular season.
There are 30 teams spread across two leagues, the American League (AL) and the National League (NL). Within those two leagues, there are 15 teams split into three divisions with five teams each. Every season, the 30 teams play 162 games from the end of March to the end of October with the hope of having a record that takes them into the postseason.
Starting in 2023, each team in the MLB plays against all 29 other teams in the sport. In the past, more than one half of a team’s schedule would consist of games against its division opponents in its designated league (AL or NL).
This change has increased competition among teams and excitement for fans.
HOW DO TEAMS MAKE IT TO THE MLB POSTSEASON?
At the finish of all 162 games, one team from each division (AL East, South, West and NL East, South, West) is named the division winner. Division winners are automatically granted a spot in the MLB playoffs schedule, where they will be seeded and play against each other in hopes of making it to the World Series.
Up until 1995, this was the MLB playoff format. It was that year that the league decided to expand the postseason by implementing the Wild Card Series.
WHAT ARE WILD CARD TEAMS?
As mentioned above, the six division winners move on to the postseason. With the addition of the wild card, the playoff picture expanded to eight teams. The two teams with the best records that didn’t win a division title were added to the playoffs. This was done in part to make the postseason more exciting, but also to give more teams a chance at winning it all.
In 2012, the MLB decided to add another wild card team from each league to the playoff format, expanding the playoffs from eight to ten teams.
In this new format, the two wild card teams from each league would play against one another in a single-elimination wild card game. The two winning wild cards would go on to play to top seeded team in their respective leagues. The other two division winning teams then play against each other in series of their own.
The winners of the Division Series then go up against each other in the League Championship, with the higher seed having home field advantage. The league champions from the AL and the NL then face-off in the final series of the season: the World Series.
WHAT IS THE PLAYOFFS WILDCARD FORMAT?
With the move to 12 teams in the postseason, the previous format no longer works. So, starting in 2023, the playoff format will now go like this:
The three division winners are seeded 1-3 according to record. The three wild card teams are seeded 4-6, also by record.
Keep in mind, the three wild card teams are not limited by divisions, so all three teams could potentially come from the same division.
The wild card teams seeded 4 and 5 play against each other in a three-game series, with the 4 seed having home field advantage for all three games.
The wild card team seeded 6 will play against the division winner in seed 3, with the 3 seed having home field advantage.
This major change means the 3 seed could be knocked out of the playoffs before the Division Series even begins if the 6 seed manages to win the Wild Card Series. It also means the 1 and 2 seeds get a bye in the first round of the postseason.
Some fans are upset about the change because it eliminates the potential for a tie-breaking 163rd game, but it seems like the benefits outweigh that qualm.
Those in favor of this change believe this not only allows for more teams to get a chance to make it to the playoffs, but it also adds to the competition. Not to mention, it creates a big incentive to be a top seeded team in order to get a much-deserved break in between the end of the regular season and the Division Series.
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