The general format of the 2022 Major League Baseball postseason has been known for quite awhile. The addition of one more Wild Card team in each league required a change, and there’s a new best-of-three Wild Card Series that will precede the Division Series and replace the old winner-take-all Wild Card Game. The specific dates of all these games had not yet been announced, though, beyond the fact that it would be later on the calendar than initially planned due to the owners’ lockout delaying Opening Day by a week.
Today, MLB revealed the specifics, sans first pitch time (which is usually decided in the days prior with time zone considerations). Here’s the condensed version for Yankees fans who would rather only focus on the American League parts. Ideally, New York will hold onto its big lead and skip the first round, but it’s good to know regardless.
American League Wild Card Series (ESPN)
Game 1: Friday, October 7th
Game 2: Saturday, October 8th
Game 3*: Sunday, October 9th
The division leader with the worst record — most likely the AL Central winner since the leading Guardians are currently 10.5 games behind the Yankees —will take the No. 3 seed and square off with the worst Wild Card team, the No. 6 seed. The other two Wild Card teams will face each other in the other series. The Nos. 3 and 4 seeds will have home-field advantage for the duration of the best-of-three, and the top two seeds will get first-round byes.
As a reminder, seeding will be determined first by record, and then tiebreakers if needed. To my personal regret, there will no longer be any Game 163s à la 1978.
American League Division Series (TBS)
Game 1: Tuesday, October 11th
Game 2: Thursday, October 13th
Game 3: Saturday, October 15th
Game 4*: Sunday, October 16th
Game 5*: Monday, October 17th
The AL’s top seed will face the winner of the No. 4 vs. No. 5 seed Wild Card Series, and the No. 2 seed will face the victor of No. 3 vs. No. 7. As noted by MLB.com, teams will not be reseeded after first round. The higher-seeded team gets home field in Games 1, 2, and 5, whereas the lower seed gets Games 3 and 4. October 10th will be a necessary day off between the WCS and the DS, preserved in case rain postpones one of the WCS games.
Interestingly, MLB used to begin the ALDS and NLDS on separate days, but this year, they will both begin on October 11th, and both ALDS matchups will immediately get a day off. They would also get one after Game 2 to travel to the other city, though they won’t get a second travel day if the series goes five games. It does open the possibility for an ace like Gerrit Cole to get the Game 1 start and then appear again in Game 5 — or even Game 4 — on full rest (assuming no rainouts)
American League Championship Series (TBS)
Game 1: Wednesday, October 19th
Game 2: Thursday, October 20th
Game 3: Saturday, October 22nd
Game 4: Sunday, October 23rd
Game 5*: Monday, October 24th
Game 6*: Tuesday, October 25th
Game 7*: Wednesday, October 26th
This closer to the standard Championship Series format, with the two surviving teams squaring off in each league for a best-of-seven. The higher seed gets Games 1, 2, 6, and 7, while the lower seed gets Games 3, 4, and 5.
The only difference from Championship Series of years’ past is that like in the 2022 setup for the Division, there is no second travel day. Game 6 would occur the day after Game 5, so there’s a chance that we could see a No. 5 starter factor into a team’s LCS plans.
World Series (Fox)
Game 1: Friday, October 28th
Game 2: Saturday, October 29th
Game 3: Monday, October 31st
Game 4: Tuesday, November 1st
Game 5*: Wednesday, November 2nd
Game 6*: Friday, November 4th
Game 7*: Saturday, November 5th
This is the traditional World Series format with the same 2-3-2 home-field setup and both travel days intact. If the series goes seven though, it will be the latest that any baseball season has ever ended*; the 2001 and 2009 Fall Classics both concluded on November 4th. I don’t particularly care, but if you do, blame the owners for the lockout!
*Other years have had schedules that went beyond November 4th, but didn’t reach the maximum seven games. For example, if 2009 had gone seven games, then it would have ended on November 5th, but blissfully, it did not.