MLB sets postseason schedule, fixes last year's annoying quirk
Major League Baseball released the schedule for the 2013 postseason on Tuesday. Thankfully, it rights the wrong caused by last year's slapdash addition of a second wild card team in each league by returning the Division Series to a 2-2-1 format in which the higher-seeded teams host the first two games as well as the rubber match.
Last year, a 2-3 format was used in the first round, allowing the wild-card winners to open at home. Because network broadcast schedules had already been set prior to the rushed addition of the wild-card game (which was supposed to be coupled with this year's move of the Astros to the AL to create six five-team divisions and two 15-team leagues) , the league refused to include a second travel day in each division series.
This time around, the regular season ends on Sunday, Sept. 29, with the following day set aside for any potential tiebreaker. The NL wild-card game will take place on Tuesday, Oct. 1, with the AL one on Wednesday, Oct. 2. In fact, each NL round starts a day before its AL counterpart, a quirk that's offset by the AL champion getting to open the World Series at home by dint of the league's win in this year's All-Star Game.
The two NL Division Series begin on Thursday, Oct. 3, with Game 2 the next day, Games 3 and 4 (if necessary) on Sunday, October 6 and Monday, Oct. 7, and Game 5 (if necessary) on Wednesday, Oct. 9. The two AL Division Series begin on Oct. 4, but Game 2 isn't until Oct. 6, inserting an idle, non-travel day into the schedule in between so as to juice television ratings by minimizing the number of four-game days (Oct. 4 and 7 being the only possibilities). Games 3 and 4 (if necessary) of the ALDS are on Oct. 7 and 8, with Game 5 (if necessary) on Thursday, Oct. 10.
The NL Championship Series begins on Friday, Oct. 11 and follows a 2-3-2 format, with another game the next day, a travel day followed by three from Oct. 14-16, then another travel day and the final two games, if necessary, on Oct. 18-19. The AL Championship Series has the same format but is set back a day, starting on Saturday, Oct. 12, with subsequent games on the 13th, 15th through 17th, and then 19th and 20th.
The World Series doesn't begin until Wednesday, Oct. 23, meaning a minimum of three idle days for the NL pennant winner and two for the AL winner, who opens at home. Again, the best-of-seven series will follow a 2-3-2 format with travel days between each venue change; Game 2 is on Thursday, Oct. 24, then three more from Oct. 26-28, and the final two, if necessary, on Oct. 30 and 31. Happy Halloween! You can see the day-by-day schedule, including which network is airing each game, at MLB.com, though the start times won't be determined until the participants are decided.