2022 MLB postseason: Everything you need to know about the new wild card round
One of the issues that separated Major League Baseball and the MLBPA during the offseason lockout was how many postseason teams there would be moving forward.
The two sides eventually agreed on 12 teams, causing a shakeup in the postseason bracket.
The “wild card round” was made in 2020 thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic-shortened season and was thought to be a temporary solution, but it is now here to stay.
Here's everything you need to know about the wild card round that begins Friday afternoon…
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HOW IT WORKS
Outside the 2020 season, this is the third time the MLB postseason has expanded since the 1995 season. After three division winners and one wild card from '95 to 2011, the 2012 season saw two wild card teams, which birthed the Wild Card Game – one game, do or die, winner faces the top-seed in the Division Series, loser goes home – until last season.
Beginning this year, there are now three wild cards along with the three division winners. However, much like the NFL's old playoff format, the top two seeds receive a “bye” into the Division Series.
This weekend, the three-seeds (the division winner with the worst record of the three) will host the six-seeds in – like 2020 – a best-of-3 series where all games will be played in consecutive days at the higher seed. The four seeds are hosting the fives.
The third-seeded Cleveland Guardians – who won the AL Central – will welcome the Seattle Mariners. The fifth-seeded Tampa Bay Rays will travel north to Toronto to face their division rival Blue Jays.
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In the National League, the five-seed San Diego Padres are flying east to go against the fourth-seeded New York Mets. The NL Central winning St. Louis Cardinals will host the Philadelphia Phillies.
In order to ensure that the top seed in each league would not face a division winner in the Division Series, there will not be reseeding. The top-seeded Houston Astros will face the winner of the Rays-Blue Jays series in the best-of-5 ALDS, while the New York Yankees will have home-field advantage against the Guardians or Mariners.
The NL's one-seed Los Angeles Dodgers await either the Mets or Padres in the next round, while the defending World Series champion Atlanta Braves will go up against either the Cardinals or Phillies.
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The Division Series remain best-of-five, while the Championship Series and World Series each still are best-of-seven.