June 30, 2022

Top Secret Fyles: There’s a lot to like about MLB’s expanded playoff format | topsecretfyles

In the drawers of Top Secret Fyles:

With the MLB season fast approaching the middle, it’s time to discuss the game’s new playoff format involving 12 teams, versus two.

MLB takes a page from the NFL’s playoff system from 1990 to 2019, where six teams from each conference made the playoffs, with the top two division winners earning a bye to the divisional round.

Once the ABC was ratified, MLB went the same way, but this time with three division winners (#1 through #3 seeds based on winning percentage) and three wild-card clubs (see series #4 to #6) in each league.

Going into Monday’s action, let’s take a look at each league’s playoff structure.

■ 1. Yankees (44-16, .733);

■ 2. Astros (37-23, .617);

■ 3. Twins (35-27, .565);

■ 4. Blue Jays (35-24, .593);

■ 5. Spokes (35-25, .583);

■ 6. Red Sox (32-29, .525).

In the best-of-three wildcard series (single-game elimination is complete) that would be played at one site, the Red Sox would play the Twins and the survivor would meet the second-seeded Astros in a divisional round at the best of five.

The Blue Jays-Rays wild card winner would face the top-seeded Yankees in another best-of-five divisional round. The two winners of the divisional round would face off in the best of seven AL Championship Series.

■ 1. Mets (40-22, .645);

■ 2. Dodgers (37-23, .617);

■ 3. Cardinals (34-27, .557);

■ 4. Padres (37-24, .607);

■ 5. Giants (33-26, .559);

■ 6. Braves (34-27, .557).

The Braves would meet the Cardinals in a wildcard round, while the other matchup would feature the All-West Division matchup between the Padres and Giants. The Mets would meet the winner between the Padres and Giants, while the Dodgers would await the survivor from the Cardinals-Braves. Keep in mind that teams will play slots until October 5, the end of the regular season.

I like the expanded format, with a minimum of six additional playoff games in each league, which increases revenue from the game, but teams may have to put up with a lot of series travel.

■ Trivia: Matt Carpenter became the third New York Yankee whose first three hits with the team were homers. Who were the other two?

■ From Seattle Times columnist Dwight Perry — Tim Hunter of KRKO radio in Everett, with a sign that gas has become way too expensive: “A gas station is giving away a free car with every fill-up.

■ Trivia answer: Alfonso Soriano (1999-2000) and Kyle Higashioka (2018).

■ Note: Top Secret Fyles will be back on Tuesday, June 28th.

Times Sports Editor Richard Fyle can be reached at [email protected]

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