We knew the mannequin new baseball playoff system, with the addition of a third wildcard staff, would create quirks. In a vacuum, it actually works as a consequence of all division winners are thought-about equal. however surely, the place people play the video games, they very a lot ought to not. teams are laborious to guage on simply their doc, as a consequence of every division winner performs such utterly different schedules (one factor that can most likely be partially rectified subsequent season with a extra balanced schedule). nonetheless the idea is that ought to you’re the final wildcard staff, your “punishment” is that you simply’re presupposed to play the third most interesting staff inside the league, on the highway.
It’s most likely not figuring out that method this season.
Rob Mains of Baseball Prospectus and Joe Sheehan in his publication have been all by means of this for a bit now, however in each leagues it seems want it might very properly be elevated to full inside the final wildcard spot than inside the second wildcard spot. And that’s as a consequence of MLB isn’t reseeding after the wildcard spherical — one factor they might want to take a have a look at after this season.
inside the American League, the Blue Jays, the Mariners, and the Rays are all inside half a sport of every utterly different, and a full 5.5 in entrance of the Orioles. as a consequence of of the Yankees truly being ambulatory and awake for a pair video games this weekend in direction of Tampa, these three are almost definitely going to be your wildcard teams, barring some sort of historic collapse that can put Theo Epstein again proper into a gorilla costume.
The quirk of the AL is that the sixth-seed might have the much less sophisticated path to make some extreme noise. That seed will play the winner of the AL Central, extra likely to be both the White Sox or Guardians, each of that are headed for eighty five- or 86-win seasons, maybe. in the meantime, the two wildcard teams left over are going to play every utterly different, each of that are on tempo for ninety+ win seasons.
Now you will get into the weeds right here, and actually debate whether or not being on the highway for a max of three video games and having to see Dylan cease for thought-about one of them and a scary fixed Johnny Cueto or a reviving Lance Lynn is any sort of favorable matchup. Ditto having to see Shane Bieber and Cleveland’s bullpen that’s been the darkness to hitters of late. however neither can be going by means of Tampa’s workers, or Toronto’s lineup if it bought sizzling, and Seattle has Luis Castillo and Logan Gilbert and Robbie Ray mendacity in wait as properly. Any staff might even be something over simply three video games, however we have 162 video games of proof that each Cleveland and Chicago have some pretty massive flaws.
If the final seed inside the playoffs is ready to beat the AL Central winner, hardly a miraculous consequence, they might then see the Yankees rather than the Astros. Now, the Yankees aren’t actually the crash take a look at dummy they’ve been impersonating for a pair months now. Or a minimal of they shouldn’t be. nonetheless it is a lineup that has holes, and a pitching workers that is both harm, unhealthy, throwing extra innings than it ever has, or is Gerrit Cole, no matter which means to you. and additionally they nonetheless might win a hundred video games in a division that’s going to current two extra playoff teams and a third that will be the most important to overlook out (Baltimore). however they aren’t the Astros. ending sixth might see a staff get the much less sophisticated matchup inside the Divisional spherical as properly as to the most important spherical, ought to they get there.
inside the NL, it’s sort of the identical story. The third wildcard staff will get to face the St. Louis Cardinals, winners of the three-legged and quarter-brained race that is the NL Central. Yeah, yeah “Cardinals devil Magic,” which might solely be turned as a lot as MacBeth ranges with Pujols and Molina of their final seasons. nonetheless the playing cards are most undoubtedly not the Mets or Braves, which is what the fifth seed — the elevated staff than the sixth seed — will get as their “reward.” and ought to the sixth seed topple St. Louis in St. Louis (be nonetheless my coronary heart), they don’t then draw the Dodgers. optimistic, the Mets or Braves, whichever one wins the NL East, are not any picnic, nonetheless the Dodgers are thought-about one of the most interesting staff inside the league.
as quickly as extra, you almost certainly can get into the weeds right here, squint and see that with the wonky well being of the Dodgers workers and Craig Kimbrel on an everyday basis ready to go Three Mile Island inside the pen, maybe it’s no extra worrisome to face them than having to deal with deGrom and Scherzer thrice in a 5-sport collection. however we play the 162 to get hold of out who’s elevated, and strictly by data posted over six months, the sixth seed finally ends up being the much less sophisticated path.
And most seasons will seem like this. There’s on an everyday basis a division that lags behind the various two, which might on an everyday basis be on faucet for the third wildcard staff. There’s on an everyday basis a division that has two of thought-about one of the most interesting teams inside the league, and the one which falls brief worthwhile the division will most likely be a a lot tougher opponent than whoever wins the remedial division. The Dodgers final yr, the Nationals of 2019, the Cubs and Yankees of 2018, have been all teams that didn’t win a division that have been elevated over the season than wildcard teams by some margin. It’s simply the most interesting method it actually works if you’re chop up into six divisions.
the one exact reply is to get rid of divisions, steadiness the schedule utterly, and take the very most interesting six teams, which might by no means happen. Reseeding after the wildcard spherical is a half-decision. Seeding the backside division winner and the three wildcards after the common season is one other decision, however any staff that wins a division goes to be awfully salty about having to journey to play a staff that didn’t. And as quickly as extra, as a consequence of the schedule makeups are so utterly different between teams in utterly different divisions it’s not completely reliable both.
we’re ready to get back again and giggle at this when it finally ends up being a Cardinals-White Sox World collection and that i have to maneuver to the moon.