Home Sports Rob Manfred defends new playoff structure as top seeds eliminated yet again, including three 100-win teams

Rob Manfred defends new playoff structure as top seeds eliminated yet again, including three 100-win teams

by admin

The Atlanta Braves were eliminated from the playoffs on Thursday night, losing to the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League Division Series for the second year in a row. The Phillies will now play the Arizona Diamondbacks for the NL pennant, with the winner advancing to play the American League victor —  either the Texas Rangers or Houston Rangers — in the World Series.

Major League Baseball’s final four, then, will not feature the Braves, the Los Angeles Dodgers, or the Baltimore Orioles — the only three clubs to win more than 100 games during the regular season. Even so, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred told reporters on Thursday, before the Braves were banished from contention, that he does not yet believe the playoff format needs altering.

“It’s only Year 2,” Manfred said, according to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers. “I’m sort of of the view you need to give something a chance to work out. I know some of the higher-seeded teams didn’t win. I think if you think about where some of those teams were, there are other explanations than a five-day layoff. But I think we’ll reevaluate in the offseason like we always do and think about if we have the format right.”

MLB and the MLB Players Association agreed to expand the postseason to 12 teams as part of the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement. The top two teams in each league get a bye, with the other four clubs competing in a best-of-three Wild Card Series. The Braves, Dodgers, and Orioles, then, all had time off between the end of the regular season and the beginning of the LDS round. That time off has become a talking point for managers trying to explain their dominant regular season team’s struggles in the playoff.

“I don’t think that five days is ideal, but that’s the playoff structure,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told the Associated Press. “The world’s not perfect. A couple-day break would have been nice. But five’s a little …” 

Orioles manager Brandon Hyde, meanwhile, said: “I don’t know if it’s a disadvantage, but it puts you in a different routine than you are during regular season and what you’re used to. That’s something we’re aware of and need to adapt to.”

Last year, two of the four teams who received first-round byes advanced to the LCS round. The Astros, the No. 2 overall seed, won the World Series.

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