People don't always like change, but in the case of this year's MLB playoffs, change will only further make the postseason a can't-miss event.
Fans of drama won't want to see this thrilling final week of the regular season—which has been further intensified by the new two-wild-card system—come to end, but the playoffs, as always, will bring plenty of nail-biting action.
Additionally, while the new one-game playoff system will add a whole new excitement factor, purists will still be happy to know that is the only change to this year's postseason.
Let's take a look at everything you need to know so you don't miss any of this year's heart-stopping playoff action.
Early Playoff Schedule
Note: For a complete look at the entire playoff schedule, check out MLB.com. Times and TV networks are still yet to be determined, but games will be broadcast on FOX, TBS and ESPN.
|Away Team||Home Team||Date|
|AL Wild Card||AL Wild Card||Friday, 10/5|
|NL Wild Card||Atlanta Braves||Friday, 10/5|
|AL Division Winner No. 2||Detroit Tigers||Saturday, 10/6|
|NL Division Winner No. 2||San Francisco Giants||Saturday, 10/6|
|AL Division Winner No. 1||AL Wild Card||Sunday, 10/7|
|AL Division Winner No. 2||Detroit Tigers||Sunday, 10/7|
|NL Division Winner No. 1||NL Wild Card||Sunday, 10/7|
|NL Division Winner No. 2||San Francisco Giants||Sunday, 10/7|
The only thing different about this year's playoff format is the addition of a one-game playoff between the two wild-card teams. The No. 1 wild-card team will host the No. 2 wild-card team for a chance to take on the top division winner from each league.
In the NL, the Braves have the home spot locked up while the St. Louis Cardinals are a win or a Los Angeles Dodgers loss away from securing a matchup with Atlanta on Friday.
Over in the AL, it appears as though the Baltimore Orioles and Oakland Athletics will take on each other, but there are plenty of ways that could change. Both squads are still mathematically alive in their division races, not to mention they have the same record and home-field advantage for the one-game playoff is still up for grabs.
Likewise, the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers, leaders of the East and West,respectively, both hold the same record. Whoever finishes higher (remember Baltimore and Oakland are both still alive for this spot, as well) will take on the wild-card team in a five-game series while whoever finishes second in the AL will take on the Detroit Tigers.
The same goes for the NL, as the Washington Nationals and Cincinnati Reds are currently tied for the best record. The No. 1 team will face the wild-card winner and the No. 2 will face the San Francisco Giants.
As is the same as last year, the ALCS, NLCS and World Series are all seven-game series.