MLB expanded the number of postseason teams from 10 to 16 this year, drawing plenty of criticism in the process. Fans and baseball experts around the country seem to generally hate the new playoff format. If the league had not changed things in 2020, the Dodgers would be in an entirely different position.
For starters, obviously the Dodgers wouldn’t be playing in the wildcard round had MLB stuck to their original format. Instead, the Padres would’ve been facing either the Marlins, Cardinals, or Reds. All three teams finished with a .517 win percentage, though the Cardinals did not get to finish all 60 games due to a COVID outbreak.
Whoever won that wildcard series would have been who the Dodgers faced in the Division Series. The Braves and the Cubs would have been the other two teams playing in the National League Division Series. Over in the AL, the Houston Astros would not have even made the playoffs with their losing record. The Yankees and Blue Jays also would have missed out on a chance to play into October. Needless to say, the MLB playoff picture would look much different than what we are seeing today.
Who knows at this point if this version of the playoffs is here to stay. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred recently talked about the expansion, and that he preferred to have fewer teams than the 16 that made it in this year. But when he says fewer, he means more like 14 teams, not the 10 that we’re used to.
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