The 2012 MLB postseason began with Friday's AL and NL Wild Card Games. But the playoffs will truly begin with the Division Series on Saturday (Oct. 6).
The one-game Wild Card Games were exciting, yet they felt like addendums to the regular season—an attempt to create the drama experienced in Game 163 tiebreakers, such as we saw in 2009 between the Detroit Tigers and Minnesota Twins. The Wild Card Game was the equivalent of the play-in games for the NCAA tournament.
A playoff matchup won't be decided on just one game or one play. So many things have to go right for a team to make a sustained playoff run and progress toward a championship.
Here are five things that a team needs to win a playoff series. All five might not apply to the team that eventually wins the World Series. But especially in recent years, we've seen these five keys come together for a team and that led to postseason success.