The new, 12-team playoff format The Wild Card Game has been replaced by the best-of-three Wild Card Series, which functions as the first round of play. The higher seed in each Wild Card Series will host all the games of that series, be it two or the maximum three games.
What is the new format? MLB will implement a 12-team playoff bracket, featuring six teams from each league, rather than last year’s format with 10 teams (five from each league). Each side of the bracket will have three division winners and three wild-card teams.
The Wild Card Series (formerly known as Wild Card Game prior to 2022) are games that serve as the opening round of the Major League Baseball (MLB) postseason. A single wild card game was first instituted in 2012; best-of-three playoff wild card series were adopted for the 2022 season.
The top two division winners in each league will receive byes to the Division Series. The other four teams in each league will play best-of-three series in the Wild Card round, with the higher seed hosting all three games.
The winners of the American League Championship Series (ALCS) and the National League Championship Series (NLCS) play each other in the best-of-seven World Series. The current system allows for up to 54 postseason games and at least 32 games.
The Divisional Series is a best-of-five series, featuring the three division winners and a wild-card team. Typically, the wild-card team plays the division leader with the best winning percentage in one series, and the other two division leaders play the other series.
Both the National and American Leagues each give six playoff slots: winners of each division (the East, Central and West) and three wild card spots. The teams are seeded as follows: Number one overall seed is awarded to the division winner with the best overall record.
In the new Wild Card Series, the top two division winners in each league receive a bye to the Division Series, while the lowest-seeded division winner and three wild card teams will play in this round. A best-of-three series will take place, with the higher seed hosting all three games.
The World Series pits the champion of the American League against the champion of the National League to determine an overall winner. Each league is divided into three divisions each – West, Central and East. The team with the best record in each division gets an automatic playoff berth.
The four wild-card round participants in each league comprise the division winner with the worst record among division winners and the three non-division winners with the best records. That division winner is automatically the No. 3 seed regardless of whether one or all of the other wild-card teams has a better record.
How many teams reach the postseason? The bracket-style postseason involves 12 teams (six from each league) – an increase from 10 teams (five in each league) in the previous format. That includes the three division winners in each league and three Wild Card teams per league.
The playoff format now includes four division winners and two wild-card teams from each conference. The Wild Card games that kick off the post-season play feature two division winners hosting wild-card teams.
The three Wild Card teams will be the fourth, fifth and sixth seeds. The third seed will host the sixth seed in a best-of-three Wild Card series, and the fourth seed will do the same with the fifth seed. The postseason starts on October 7, two days after the end of the regular season.
Currently, seven teams from each of the league’s two conferences qualify for the playoffs. A tie-breaking procedure exists if required. The tournament culminates in the Super Bowl: the league’s championship game in which two teams, one from each conference, play each other to become champion of the NFL.
The game seven is comparable to a final or to a single game in a single-elimination tournament or to a one-game playoff. A championship series’ game seven is equivalent to the Super Bowl game in the National Football League in that the game’s winner is the league’s champion for the season.
The first team in each series to three wins takes the series and moves on to the NLCS. As in a typical best of five series, the number of wins dictates the number of games in the series. Note that one series may take all five games to determine a winner while the other series establishes a winner in three games.
The 2021 National League Division Series were two best-of-five-games series in Major League Baseball (MLB) to determine the participating teams of the 2021 National League Championship Series.
The two winners of the Division Series from each league then advance to the League Championship Series, or the semi-final stage – known as the ALCS and the NLCS.
World Series Champions
|2021||Atlanta Braves||Houston Astros|
|2020||Los Angeles Dodgers||Tampa Bay Rays|
|2019||Washington Nationals||Houston Astros|
16-21, 2022, and Panama City, Panama, Sept. 30-Oct. 5, 2022. Twelve teams, six from the American League and six from the National League, will compete in an elimination tournament for Major League Baseball’s ultimate prize — a World Series championship.
There are still a couple weeks left to go in the 2022 MLB regular season, but a few teams are already looking toward October. The Dodgers have officially secured the season’s first playoff berth, and the Houston Astros, New York Mets, Atlanta Braves, New York Yankees and Cleveland Guardians followed next.
A wild card (also wildcard or wild-card and also known as an at-large berth or at-large bid) is a tournament or playoff berth awarded to an individual or team that fails to qualify in the normal way; for example, by having a high ranking or winning a qualifying stage.
In order to determine the champion of Major League Baseball in the U.S. and Canada, the winners from the National League and the American League play the “World Series.” The Series consists of seven games. If a team wins four out of the seven games, they are the champions.