Sixteen-team postseason looks to shake up MLB

Jude Papillion, Associate Sports Editor

After postponing its typical 162-game schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic, MLB concluded its shortened 60-game regular season last weekend and baseball’s postseason is set to begin this week. This MLB postseason will be unlike anything we have ever seen before. Instead of a traditional wild-card round, 16 teams will face off in a fan-less, neutral-site bubble after the first round. To make things weirder, the World Series will also be hosted at a neutral stadium, the Texas Rangers’ Globe Life Field.

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Cecilia Hammond

The Los Angeles Dodgers are the No.1 seed in the National League after becoming the third team ever to win at least eight straight division titles. The Dodgers are followed by the Atlanta Braves and the Chicago Cubs.

The Tampa Bay Rays took the crown in the American League, followed by the Oakland Athletics and the Minnesota Twins.

For the first time in MLB history, the playoffs will feature an expanded 16-team playoff format. The expanded format, only set to be used this season, will see the top two teams from each division and the two remaining teams with the best records in each league make up the eight-team fields for the American and National Leagues. The top three seeds in each league will be the division winners, while second-place teams will fill seeds four through six and the remaining two qualifiers will be seeded seventh and eighth.

The first round, which began Tuesday and will end Friday, features best-of-three serieses — No.1 seed vs No. 8 seed, No. 2 seed vs No. 7 seed and so on — creating the possibility for more upsets than a typical five-game first round. ESPN predicts that a typical No. 1 seed’s odds to win the World Series go down 10.5% when playing in the new format.

The AL and NL Division series is scheduled to begin on Oct. 5 and will lead into the league championship series on Oct. 11. The World Series will begin on Oct. 20. 

According to DraftKings, the Dodgers (+350) have the highest odds to win the World Series followed by the Yankees (+600) and the Rays (+600).