In 2013 Major League Baseball implemented a new rule that added another team to the postseason. The second Wild Card was created to give more teams hope of a playoff berth and add to the drama of October.
The Los Angeles Dodgers avoided the one-game playoff between the two Wild Card teams last year by winning the National League West title. As of now, the team would again avoid the one-game playoff as the current leader of the West, but they will need to hold off the San Francisco Giants down the stretch.
According to Michael Lananna of MLB.com, Don Mattingly wants his team to have one vision for the final month of the season:
I think our focus right now is just winning games, trying to win our division, knowing that every game is important from that standpoint,” Mattingly said. “The main thing you want to do now is — obviously, you want to get into the playoffs — but if you get in, you want to win the division because you don’t want to play in the Wild Card game if you don’t have to.”
Though the Dodgers would likely be armed with the best pitcher in baseball for a potential winner-take-all game, Mattingly feels more comfortable in a five-game series for several reasons:
I think the biggest thing is you’ve got to get yourself five games,” Mattingly said. “You have a better chance, you feel like, of the better team winning in five games. With one game, you never know what could happen. The ball could bounce the wrong way. Everything could go wrong. It’s just one of those games you don’t want to be in.”
While some teams are satisfied with having a chance in the playoffs, the Dodgers have bigger aspirations and would rather avoid the chance of one play determining the outcome of the season.
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