After the 162-game baseball regular season, there is only one way to determine who will go on to win the World Series. That is through the elimination tournament that begins with the Wild Card games.
Wild Card Playoff Games
Thanks to a new format installed in 2012, the teams that play in the Wild Card game are the two in each league that have the highest win total of any non-division winners. That means that two teams from the American League will play each other and two teams from the National League will play each other in single-game playoff series. The winner of each of these games goes on to play in either the American League Division Series or the National League Division Series.
In 2016, the Blue Jays hosted the Orioles in the American League Wild Card Game and the Mets hosted the Giants in the National League Wild Card Game. The Blue Jays emerged victorious in the AL, winning 5-2 in the 11th inning of an epic ballgame. That contest will forever be remembered for Buck Showalter’s boneheaded decision to not let closer Zach Britton pitch late in the game. Britton had racked up 47 saves with a 0.54 ERA in the 2016 season, yet did not touch the ball for Baltimore. That proved to be a big mistake, as he might have prevented further damage and kept the O’s alive. In the National League game, the Giants came away with a decisive win. San Francisco beat New York 3-0 in that game, and Madison Bumgarner was the main reason why. The lefty pitched a complete game shutout, striking out six batters and allowing only four hits.
The Division Series features the three division winners from each league, as well as the two Wild Card winners. The teams are seeded by regular season win total, and the division winner with the most victories in a season faces the Wild Card winner. Then it is the second- and third-seeded teams that face one another. But unlike the Wild Card Game, the teams face one another in a five-game series. The team that is seeded higher hosts the first two games and then also plays at home in Game 5, if the series gets that far.
Last year, the National League matchups featured the 1 seed Chicago Cubs playing against the 5 seed San Francisco Giants, as well as the 2 seed Washington Nationals facing the 3 seed Los Angeles Dodgers. The Cubs beat the Giants in four games in their series, and the Dodgers edged out the Nationals in a deciding Game 5.
In the American League, the 1 seed Texas Rangers faced the 4 seed Toronto Blue Jays and the 2 seed Cleveland Indians faced the 3 seed Boston Red Sox. Both of those series ended in three-game sweeps, as the Blue Jays and Indians had absolutely no trouble taking care of their opponents.
The Championship Series ultimately decides the two teams that will be playing for a World Series title. This matchup features the American League teams that won their respective Division Series and the National League team that won theirs. Unlike the Division Series, however, this round requires a best-of-seven series to determine who wins their league’s pennant.
In last year’s postseason, the Cubs defeated the Dodgers in six games to advance to the World Series. LHP Jon Lester and 2B Javier Baez split the NLCS MVP award for Chicago. Lester was brilliant on the mound in that series, allowing just two earned runs in 13 innings of work. The Cubs won in both of his starts, and they could not have advanced without him. Baez was also exceptional in that series, going 7-for-22 with four doubles and five RBI. He also played masterfully in the field.
As for the American League, that series saw the Indians defeat the Blue Jays in only five games. LHP Andrew Miller was named the MVP of the 2016 ALCS, as the reliever pitched a total of 7.2 innings and did not allow a single run. He struck out 14 batters in those innings, and he did not issue a single walk.
What is a pennant? Which teams have won the most pennants?
A pennant is a flag that an MLB team earns for winning either the American League or National League championship. Considering the New York Yankees have won 26 World Series championships, it shouldn’t shock you to find out that New York has won the most American League pennants ever. The Yankees have won 40 pennants in their postseason history, and they can definitely add to that collection in the near future. In the National League, the San Francisco Giants are the team with the most pennants. They have won 23 of them, but the Los Angeles Dodgers are close with 21.
2017 MLB Playoffs Schedule
The 2017 MLB Playoffs will begin in October and end in late October or early November.
MLB Playoffs Schedule
How to buy MLB Playoffs tickets
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Browse the listings of MLB Playoffs games to find one you would like to attend. Once you find the perfect date and game, click on the green button on the right hand side of the screen to see all available tickets for that game.
Next, explore all available tickets on the left hand side of the screen. Filters at the bottom of the page allow tickets to be sorted by price, or by SeatGeek’s Deal Score feature, which ranks tickets by value and tells you exactly how good of a deal you're looking at. On the right hand side, you can explore SeatGeek’s interactive stadium and arena maps to find the perfect seating section, and to get a preview of what a view from a seat in that section will look like.
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When do MLB Playoffs tickets go on sale?
MLB Playoffs tickets typically go on sale in September or October.
How much do MLB Playoffs tickets cost?
MLB Playoffs tickets can range quite a bit in price depending on the day, game, and type of ticket purchased. Tickets for earlier rounds are generally cheaper than AL or NL championship series tickets. SeatGeek has the widest selection of tickets on the web, offering MLB Playoffs tickets for every fan at every price point. For the 2016 MLB Playoffs, tickets started at around $150.
Where does the MLB Playoffs take place?
The MLB playoffs take place at various stadiums around America depending on who makes the playoffs and seeding.
When do the MLB Playoffs take place?
This year, the MLB Playoffs begin on October 3, 2017.