Do you love Major League Baseball’s decade-long tradition of the one-game playoff between the two wild card teams in each league to begin the postseason? Or how about those winner-take-all tiebreakers at the end of the regular season?
Well, if you enjoyed those types of sudden-death matchups ... too bad. They are all gone now. MLB’s postseason field has expanded this year from 10 to 12 teams thanks to the addition of a third wild card spot in each league. Here’s what you need to know about the changes to baseball’s playoff format.
MLB playoff format
Each league’s three division winners and three wild card teams will be seeded as such:
No. 1 seed: Best league record
No. 2 seed: Second-best division winner
No. 3 seed: Third-best division winner
No. 4 seed: Best record among wild card teams
No. 5 seed: Second-best record among wild card teams
No. 6 seed: Third-best record among wild card teams
The top two seeds receive a bye and advance directly to the Division Series. The four other teams will face off in the Wild Card Round. Each series in this round is a best-of-three and takes place at the home park of the higher-seeded team. In the postseason’s bracket-style format, the winner of the No. 4-No. 5 series moves on to play the No. 1 seed. The No. 3-No. 6 winner would play the No. 2 seed.
The format of the best-of-five Division Series and the best-of-seven Championship Series has not changed from years past.
Another important difference for this season is the elimination of the one-game tiebreaker at the end of the regular season. In other words, there will no longer be a game No. 163 in the event of a tie. If two playoff contenders share the same record, the tie will be broken first by their head-to-head record during the regular season and then, if that’s the same, each team’s intradivision record.
The 2022 MLB playoffs will begin on Friday, Oct. 7 with Game 1 in each of the four Wild Card series.