Opening Day of the 2015 Major League Baseball season is still two weeks away and the final day of the regular season is several months from now. However, there’s been plenty of talk and anticipation for the each club’s first regular season game and now game No. 162 has joined the fray.
By the time the final day of the regular season rolls around, contenders would have separated themselves from pretenders and the postseason picture figures to be more clear at that point than it will be on April 5 when the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals ring in the new season.
However, it’s certainly plausible teams will be jockeying for position, and division and/or Wild Card races could be up for grabs on the final day of the regular season. In an effort to further preserve competitive balance on the last day, MLB has scheduled all games for the same start times, via Bill Shaikin of the LA Times:
If a game impacts another game, they’re all occurring at the same time, so no team would be put into a lame-duck situation because their fate already had been decided by an earlier result,” said Tony Petitti, MLB chief operating officer.
The Dodgers are projected to run away with a third-consecutive National League West division title, though predictions always translate to on-the-field results. Andre Ethier believes the new change will bring added excitement:
It’s a cool little wrinkle,” Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier said. “It will definitely make games more exciting that day.”
Brandon McCarthy also supports the concept, arguing games should be played the same way wire to wire:
If you can save Wainwright an extra day, that creates a little bit of an imbalance,” Dodgers pitcher Brandon McCarthy said. “You should have to play Game 162 the way you play the previous 161.”
McCarthy’s Adam Wainwright comment is in reference to the Cardinals learning their postseason fate by virtue of a Pittsburgh Pirates loss. As a result, the Cardinals scratched Wainwright from his start and he was able to start the club’s first postseason game — against the Dodgers.
With the new change, first pitch for all Oct. 4 games is scheduled for noon Pacific time.
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