A Beginners Guide to… MLB Postseason

This is a weekly feature where we will be taking you through the basics of different aspects of sport that you may not already know. The aim is to expand peoples knowledge so not only will other posts on here make more sense, but you can show off your new found knowledge to your friends. If you think we miss anything or have a topic you want us to cover Comment, Tweet or Email us and we will get to work on it.

With September rolling into October, that means the regular season in baseball is rolling into the Post-season. What better time to take you through how the post-season works.

That sounds good because I have no idea.

Know idea about what?

Well I know what baseball is, that’s about as far as it goes.

So, we better start with the basics then.

I agree, how do they qualify for the postseason?

Since the playoffs expanded in 2012 fives from the National League and five teams from the American League make it to the postseason. The three division winners from each league, then the two remainings teams with the best records qualify for the wildcard game.

What is a wildcard?

So the wildcard game was bought around in 2012 to expand the playoffs. The three division winners will qualify automatically. The two remaining teams with the best records will play in a one-off wildcard came. As of Saturday (22/9), these are the current wildcard standings.

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As it stands at the moment Boston, Houston and Cleveland are the Division Leaders in the American League (AL) and Chicago, Atlanta and LA Dodgers are the Division Leaders in the National League (NL). The Yankees would host Oakland in the AL Wildcard game and Milwaukee would Host St. Louis in the NL Game.

So what happens after that?

The winner of the Wildcard game will face the Top overall seed in the division. The second and third seeds will face off. Both games are best-of-five series. The lower seed will host the first two games, the higher seed will then host three straight home games and the winners meet for the pennant.

The Pennant?

The Pennant is what the team that wins the League Championship get. The Pennant showing they are the American or National League Championship winners that year.

What is the game called?

The American League Championship Series (ALCS) and The National League Championship Series (NLCS).

Right… so how does tha..?

Before you ask, the ALCS and NLCS are played over a best-of-seven series. The team with the best regular season record will have home field advantage. Unless a Wildcard team makes the championship game with a better record than a division winner. The division winner, in that case, would get the extra home game.

Then it’s the World Series?

Correct, well done. The winners of the ALCS and ALCS will face off in the world series.

Who get’s the home advantage in that game?

It’s a best-of-seven series and until the end of 2016, the home team was decided by the All-Star game?

Wait… what?

Yeah in one of the weirdest things in sports. The winner of the exhibition All-Star game would get home-field advantage. When the new CBA came into effect, this rule was changed and now the team with the best record will take home-field advantage into the World Series.

I think I might have this figured out already.

Hit me.

The Postseason is a pretty simple format. A wildcard game followed by divisional games. The winners play for the League Championship then the League Champions play for the world series.

You actually have it!

That’s our Beginners Guide for this week. See you next week. If there is anything that you want a Beginners Guide on comment, email or Tweet us @unlikelydan

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