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Elephant Rumblings: MLB announces 2022 playoff schedule, tightens travel days

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2021 World Series Game 4: Houston Astros v. Atlanta Braves Photo by Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via Getty Images

It’s Tuesday, Athletics Nation!

While it would take a miracle at this point for the 2022 A’s to make it there, yesterday MLB announced the dates for this year’s postseason. This may not affect Oakland in the next year or so, but with changes to the norm of scheduling and the expanded playoff format, it’ll be good to commit to memory for a couple years down the line.

First off, a quick refresher on the new expanded playoffs:

  • Wild Card round is a pair of best-of-3-game series for each league. Games are played at the higher seed’s park, and are played between: Seed #6 (WC3) @ Seed #3 (division winner with worst record) and Seed #5 (WC2) @ Seed #4 (WC1)
  • Division Series in each league is a best-of-5 matchup between the winner of the 6/3 matchup against the #2 Seed, and the winner of the 5/4 series against the #1 Seed
  • League Championship Series progresses as before, a best-of-7 bout between each league’s DS winners
  • World Series, same as it ever was, a best-of-7 series between the National League and American League champions

With the only big changes happening early in the playoffs with the Wild Card and Division Series, the 12-team postseason isn’t too hard to get down pat. The season’s lockout-delayed start, and cramming some extra games into the mix means that the usual timeline for the postseason is out the window, though. MLB had liked to start October off with each league’s 1-game Wild Card bout on back-to-back nights, in 2019 the A’s played on October 2, for instance. But this year the 3-game set gets crammed in after a later start, and that starts a chain reaction for a much later postseason than usual, even with an expedited travel schedule: (*if necessary)

  • All 4 Wild Card series are all on the same nights, October 7,8,9
  • Division Series follow suit, October 11 (AL/NL), 12 (NL), 13 (AL), 14 (NL), 15 (AL/NL*), 16(AL*/NL*), 17 (AL*)
  • Championship Series are a little more spread out, but still tight, October 18 (NL), 19 (AL/NL), 20 (AL), 21 (NL), 22 (NL/AL), 23 (NL*/AL), 24 (NL*/AL*), 25 (NL*/AL*), 26 (AL*)
  • The World Series ends up starting on a later date than some recent titles have been won on, with scheduled dates for October 28, 29, 31, November 1, 2*, 4*, 5

With more games played within the usual timespan, winning a series early and earning some extra off days and travel time will be even more crucial than ever. Hopefully it will only be a couple more years before we see the A’s contending for early-November ball.

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