The shortened MLB season is finished. However, despite the abbreviated amount of games, the number of teams in the postseason has expanded with a different postseason format for this year. Instead of two wild card teams playing each other and the winner facing the team with the best record in each division like usual, there will be six additional teams involved in this new format shown below.
The postseason will this year consist of four rounds with the first round played at the higher seed’s home field and the remaining rounds played at a predetermined neutral site (Los Angeles, California; San Diego, California; Arlington, Texas, or Houston, Texas).
Wild card series – Best of three series with all games played at the higher seed’s home field.
Division series – Best of five series with 2-2-1 format for home/away games played at Los Angeles or San Diego (for the ALDS) or Arlington or Houston (for the NLDS). The higher seed team gets home field advantage.
League Championship Series – Best of seven series with 2-3-2 format for home/away games played at San Diego (for the ALDS) or Arlington (for the NLDS). Higher seed team gets home field advantage.
World Series – Best of seven series with 2-3-2 format for home/away games played at Arlington. Team with the best regular season record gets home field advantage.
AL East: For the first time since 2013, the Tampa Bay Rays have made the postseason. This comes alongside winning the division for the first time since 2008. Manager Kevin Cash, in addressing their mindset going into the playoffs: “We want to win going into the postseason and create that momentum, and the only way you do that is by winning games.” In second place, the Yankees will be accompanying the Rays in the Playoffs. This is their fifth postseason appearance in the past six years.
AL Central: While it came down to the last day of the regular season, the Minnesota Twins snuck in the postseason with the AL Central division crown. This is the second year in a row that the Twins have won the division. Twins pitcher Tyler Clippard on winning the division, “We’ve done some great things this year. But you know, it’s just the beginning.” Coming in second place, the Cleveland Indians are making the playoffs again this year for the fourth time in the past five years.
AL West: The Oakland Athletics have won the division for the first time since 2013. Speaking about this, manager Bob Melvin said, “It’s special when you win the division.” This is indeed a special season for the Athletics. They will be joined in the postseason by the Houston Astros who took second place in their division. This will be the Astros fifth appearance in the postseason in the past six seasons.
NL East: The Atlanta Braves have clinched the NL East as well as the number two seed in the NL after a two-run walk-off homerun by Freddie Freeman Friday night. Braves Manager Brain Snitker after winning the division: “Everything about this year is different, but we’re the [NL East] champs. It’s hard to do that once, let alone we’ve had three in a row here.” The Miami Marlins, as the number two seed in the division, will be joining the Braves in representing the NL East in the postseason. This will be their first appearance since 2003 and it is extra significant because last season they had the third to worst record in MLB with 105 losses and now they are in the postseason.
NL Central: The Chicago Cubs win the NL central division this year after a close race with the St. Louis Cardinals. This is their fifth appearance in the past six years. Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo on getting to the playoffs this year, “We’re very grateful to be in the playoffs, but our expectation is to win the World Series.” Joining the Cubs in representing the NL Central is the St. Louis Cardinals making their second consecutive postseason appearance.
NL West: After a very close race for most of the season, the Los Angeles Dodgers secured the division title. In addition to the division title, they also have the best record in all of MLB. In response to winning another division title during all that has happened this year, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said, “There’s a lot to be proud of. Guys continued to win baseball games and stayed together. Ironically, it’s made our group even closer.” With their first postseason appearance since 2006, the Padres will be representing the NL West alongside the Dodgers. Similar to the Marlins, the Paders went from having one of the worst records in MLB last season to making the postseason this year.
In addition to these teams, the Toronto Blue Jays and the Chicago White Sox will be representing the American League as Wild Card teams and the Cincinnati Reds and the Milwaukee Brewers will be representing the national League as Wild Card teams.
The 2020 regular season is complete, but the baseball excitement is just beginning.