Written by Alexis Barton
The temperatures are dropping and the leaves are changing colors, which means one thing for baseball fans: playoffs. Despite their late start to the season, the MLB is looking to finish their 60 game season and move into their new playoff format. This format includes 16 teams compared to the traditional 10, and a wild card best-of-three series rather than a single game. League commissioner Rob Manfred says this format will be the new normal for the foreseeable future as it rewards more teams for their accomplishments during the season and will help make up for the revenue loss that the league has faced without fans in attendance. This change has not been without controversy, though, with some fans saying that it includes too many of the league’s 30 clubs.
In the new format, 8 teams will get a berth in each league, with three division winners, three second-place winners, and two wild card teams. There are some close races for berths in the National League, as both the East and Central divisions have no clear teams taking the first and second place in their divisions. Even though they are still up for grabs, there are a few teams that are in the running. The Miami Marlins (28-26, .519) are barely holding onto their advantage over the Philadelphia Phillies (27-27, .500), the fight for second place will continue into the final 6 games of the season. As the St. Louis Cardinals (26-25, .510) finish out their final seven games, they are going to look to defend their second place to the red-hot Cincinnati Reds who have been 8-2 in their last 10 games.
In the American League, the Tampa Bay Rays, New York Yankees, Chicago White Sox, Minnesota Twins, and Oakland Athletics have all clinched their spots and now wait to see who they will face. In the National League, the San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers will cruise to finish their seasons while their opponents will fight it out for the remaining 6 berths. Stay tuned for more MLB Playoff coverage and look out for the Wild Card Series to begin on Thursday, October 1st.