The division winners will receive the top three seeding, followed by the three second-place clubs. The last two top clubs in each conference will receive the final two seeding. That means four third-place clubs will make the playoffs; if the structure existed in 2019, the Red Sox, Rangers, Mets, and Cubs would have gone to October. In 1998, the Wild Card round was introduced as a way for teams that finished with fewer than 100 wins to play each other. The winner of each playoff series will advance to the World Series.
The postseason is the only time when win/loss records are ignored in the MLB. Instead, the team with the better record gets to go up against the team with the worse record in the Divisional Round. This is called "wild card" scheduling because there is no set number of games that must be played to determine who goes up against which team.
In addition, during the regular season, the club with the better record has home-field advantage throughout most of the game. However, if they were to lose their first game at home, they would be forced to travel to another city for game two. If they lost game two, they would get an opportunity to finish their series at home with a win in game three.
Finally, if both teams have an equal record, then the current standings will determine who plays who in the Playoffs.
The first three seeds (Nos. 1-3) in each league will go to the division champions in order of record (East, Central, and West). The following three seeding (Nos. 4-6) will be awarded to the three teams who finish second in their division, in order of record. If any two divisions have an identical record, they will be ranked by most wins over.500 (most victories over the required number of games to qualify for the postseason). If they are still tied, they will be ranked by highest winning percentage (percentage of games played against other division leaders). If they are still tied, then a tiebreaker game will be held next season between the two teams.
The team with the best record among all five playoff qualifiers will be named the National League's champion and will play in Atlanta's Fulton County Stadium (now known as Turner Field) for the right to meet the American League champion in the World Series.
In addition to the three division winners and two next-best-placed finishers, another team will be given a wild-card spot. The winner of this game will join the three division winners and two next-best-placed teams in the playoffs. This system was introduced in 1994 and has been used every year since then.
The proposed first-round format is a best-of-three series, with higher seeds hosting each game. The second seed may select to play the fifth, sixth, or seventh-seeded team; the third seed may pick between the remaining two; and the fourth seed may play the remaining team. There will be no changes for the remainder of the playoffs. This format has been used previously by both the National Hockey League and the National Basketball Association.
Since the 1969 expansion, all playoff series have been won by at least one team. In that time, there have been four tied games that required extra games to determine a winner. Three of these were in the Division Series (1998 NLDS, 1999 NLCS, 2012 NLDS). The other was in the Wild Card Game (2009 WCG).
There have been three cases where a team came from behind to win a game: 1972 ALDS vs. Oakland Athletics, 1993 NLCS vs. Toronto Blue Jays, and 2009 WCG vs. Chicago White Sox. All three of these teams went on to win their series.
This format was used for the 1994 World Cup of Baseball. Each country was placed into one of four groups, and they were seeded based on their performance during the tournament. The group winners played off for gold medals, while the losers played for bronze medals. This format also used for the 1995 Pan American Games.
The 1996 Olympics used this same format to determine the final four spots in each pool.
MLB and the MLBPA agreed on July 23 that the playoffs will feature an extended 16-team playoff tournament for 2020 only, rather than the standard 10-team tournament. Division winners (1-3), division runners-up (4-6), and the best teams remaining will seed the teams in each league (7-8). The top three finishers will compete in the League Championship Series with the winners meeting in Game 7 of the World Series.
The 2020 postseason will begin on 1 October with first-round games between the Division Series winners. If necessary, Games 6 and 7 of the World Series will be played on 10 and 13 October, respectively. The winner of the World Series will be declared that year's champion.
The 2019 season was the first since 2002 that did not include the Chicago Cubs or Boston Red Sox in the playoffs. A record number of games were played during the regular season (162); and a record number of wins were accumulated by both the New York Yankees and Houston Astros - winning 89 and 87 games, respectively. These are the first back-to-back 100-win seasons for the Yankees and the first time all five current American League teams reached the mark. The Los Angeles Dodgers finished with 108 victories, their most since 2008 when they also won 108 games.
The Houston Astros defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in seven games to win their first championship.