NL final day

Here we are, on the last day of the season, and three teams are still in contention for two slots. We could still have all three teams involved in a tiebreaker “tournament,” something that has never happened before.

In my previous discussion of playoff formats, in which I suggested a change to two divisions and two wild cards (instead of three divisions and one wild card), I did not mention the current NL races. I overlooked the 2010 NL because, under my proposal, the same five teams would be involved in the battle for four slots. However, instead of the one wild card being between the SD/SF loser and Atlanta, we would have the two wild card slots being between those teams plus Cincinnati.

Under the actual format, the Reds, like the Rangers in the AL, wrapped their division up a while ago. Yet the Reds start the last day of the season with the same record as the Padres and Braves, one of whom will not be advancing.

2 thoughts on “NL final day

  1. Yet another year without a three-way tiebreaker. Oh, well. Still a thrilling finish. The Padres are done, having lost, 3-0, to the Giants today.

    The Braves, as the wild card, now will play the Giants, who have the best record of a division winner outside of the leader of the Braves’ own division. The Phillies will play the Reds.

    Meanwhile, in the AL, the Rays wound up with the East division lead on the final day and so will open against the Rangers. The wild card Yankees will open against the Central champ Twins.

    Here comes the postseason!

  2. If MLB had kept the four divisions, two teams in the playoffs format, the NL West race between the Giants, Reds, and Braves would have come down to the last day of the season, with the Giants winning by one game.

    And the Rays would have beaten the Yankees in the AL East on the last day of the season. With the Twins coming from behind the Rangers and White Sox in the first two weeks of September to win their division.

    So the wildcard did mean losing a number of potentially great divisional races.

    My favorite proposal is for three leagues, two divisions each, with the third league made up of the ten post 1969 expansion teams. The league with the best interleague play record gets the bye. The first week of the post-season, you have the two championship series for the challenger leagues, then the second week you have the championship series for the bye league, with the pennant winners in the weaker leagues playing each other, both series to see who goes to the World Series.

    I keep track of the “races” under this alternative, and you still would have gotten the Giants-Braves-Reds race, plus the Rockies coming within one game of the Padres in the new league with a week to go, only to lose all but one of their last games in the season. You wouldn’t have gotten the Yankees-Rays race, but still would have had the Twins-Rangers-White Sox race.

    But it would mean cutting the number of playoff teams from eight to six, which I don’t think MLB would ever do.

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