Major League Baseball is expanding the postseason to 16 teams. This could help the Oakland A’s in their quest to advance beyond the first round.
The postseason has been the Oakland A’s Waterloo for the past few years. They have failed to advance in the postseason since being swept in the 2006 ALCS, including losses in their three Wild Card matchups. A hot second half to propel the A’s into the postseason has not been enough to save them from this fate.
Of course, that was then. That was in the days when only ten teams made the MLB postseason, where the two teams selected for the Wild Card Game had to battle one another to even reach the ALDS.
For now everything has changed. The playoffs have been expanded, with the top two teams in each division automatically reaching the postseason, and then the two teams with the next highest winning percentages advancing. A total of 16 teams will be in the playoffs, with a best of three Wild Card Round, where all the games will be played in the home park.
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Perhaps this will be what the A’s need. Should they manage to usurp the AL West throne from the Astros, the A’s would face a team ranked no higher than sixth in the seeding. And, all of those games would be home. Even if the A’s end up as the fourth seed, they still have that home field advantage.
The Wild Card series is also a best of three matchup this year. Anything can happen in one game – a bad hop or blown call can change the complexion of the matchup. That moment can lead to the other team advancing on, even if they would not have normally won that game.
Maybe that will make a difference this year. Perhaps, with a potentially better matchup and a longer series, the A’s will be able to emerge from the Wild Card round. And maybe, just maybe, that will be the push the A’s need to keep moving through the 2020 postseason.
The Oakland A’s have not had much luck in the postseason recently. Maybe that changes with the expanded playoffs.