2022 MLB Playoff Guide: New Wild Card Format, TV Schedule Released

The MLB Playoffs begin with Wild Card Weekend starting on Friday. Here's everything you need to know to follow all the action this year.

Freddie Freeman and Mookie Betts
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 21: Mookie Betts #50 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates his solo homerun with Freddie Freeman #5, to trail the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-1, during the fourth inning at Dodger Stadium on September 21, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

This weekend the 2022 MLB Playoffs will begin, as eight teams square off in the new Wild Card round for the first time. After play concluded last night, the playoff field was officially locked in, with each team now knowing what seed they will be and who they will play in this set bracket.

With all the teams set in stone, we can officially see the road each team will have to take in their path toward the World Series. Major League Baseball has also announced the TV schedule for each round of the playoffs, giving us an idea how all of this will unfold over the coming month.

Here is your guide to everything you need to know ahead of first pitch on Friday.

New Wild Card Format and Matchups

For the first time, outside of the 2020 COVID-shortened season, we are getting a Wild Card round added to the playoffs. In year’s past, there would be two Wild Card teams in each league, who would square off in a one-game do-or-die playoff matchup. Now MLB has added a third Wild Card team in each league and has expanded it into a Wild Card round.

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The top two records among division winners in each league receive byes from this first round of the playoffs, while the final division winner is locked into the Wild Card round with the three Wild Card teams. These Wild Card series are played as a best-of-three, with the top seeds hosting the entire series as the home team. The final division winner is automatically the three-seed, and the top record among the other three Wild Card teams gets the four-seed and will host as well.

This year, the Wild Card matchups are as follows:

National League

  • No. 3 St. Louis Cardinals host No. 6 Philadelphia Phillies
  • No. 4 New York Mets host No. 5 San Diego Padres

American League

  • No. 3 Cleveland Guardians host No. 6 Tampa Bay Rays
  • No. 4 Toronto Blue Jays host No. 5 Seattle Mariners

Full Wild Card TV Schedule

Friday, Oct. 7Game 1: Guardians vs. Rays12:07 p.m. ETESPN
Game 1: Cardinals vs. Phillies2:07 p.m. ETABC
Game 1: Blue Jays vs. Mariners4:07 p.m. ETESPN
Game 1: Mets vs. Padres8:07 p.m. ETESPN
Saturday, Oct. 8Game 2: Guardians vs. Rays12:07 p.m. ETESPN2
Game 2: Blue Jays vs. Mariners4:07 p.m. ETESPN
Game 2: Mets vs. Padres7:37 p.m. ETESPN
Game 2: Cardinals vs. Phillies8:37 p.m. ETESPN2
Sunday, Oct. 9Game 3: Blue Jays vs. Mariners (if necessary)2:07 p.m. ETABC
Game 3: Guardians vs. Rays (if necessary)4:07 p.m. ETESPN
Game 3: Mets vs. Padres (if necessary)7:37 p.m. ETESPN
Game 3: Cardinals vs. Phillies (if necessary)8:37 p.m. ETESPN2

Again each best-of-three series will be played entirely in one ballpark, with the higher seed retaining home field advantage for the entire series. The winners will advance to the divisional round, where they will get a day off before the next round begins on Tuesday, October 11th.

NLDS and ALDS Schedule

Tuesday, Oct. 11Game 1: Braves vs. TBDFox or FS1
Game 1: Dodgers vs. TBDFox or FS1
Game 1: Yankees vs. TBDTBS
Game 1: Astros vs. TBDTBS
Wednesday., Oct. 12Game 2: Braves vs. TBDFox or FS1
Game 2: Dodgers vs. TBDFox or FS1
Thursday, Oct. 13Game 2: Yankees vs. TBDTBS
Game 2: Astros vs. TBDTBS
Friday, Oct. 14Game 3: Braves vs. TBDFS1
Game 3: Dodgers vs. TBDFS1
Saturday, Oct. 15Game 4: Braves vs. TBD (if necessary)FS1
Game 4: Dodgers vs. TBD (if necessary)FS1
Game 3: Yankees vs. TBDTBS
Game 3: Astros vs. TBDTBS
Sunday, Oct. 16Game 4: Yankees vs. TBD (if necessary)TBS
Game 4: Astros vs. TBD (if necessary)TBS
Game 5: Braves vs. TBD (if necessary)FS1
Game 5: Dodgers vs. TBD (if necessary)FS1
Monday, Oct. 17Game 5: Yankees vs. TBD (if necessary)TBS
Game 5: Astros vs. TBD (if necessary)TBS

The playoff format for the divisional round has not changed from year’s past, as it is still a best-of-five series, played in a 2-2-1 format. The one difference however is the elimination of an off-day between a potential Game 4 and potential Game 5 in any series.

All four divisional round series will begin on Tuesday, October 11th, but the off-days will be different in each league. For the American League, they will get an off-day immediately following Game 1. For the National League, their off-day will come after Game 2, on their travel day. The AL will get an additional off-day for travel on Friday after they play Game 2.

NLCS and ALCS Schedule

Tuesday, Oct. 18NLCS, Game 1Fox or FS1
Wednesday, Oct. 19NLCS, Game 2Fox or FS1
Thursday, Oct. 20ALCS, Game 2TBS
Friday, Oct. 21NLCS, Game 3FS1
Saturday, Oct. 22NLCS, Game 4Fox or FS1
Sunday, Oct. 23NLCS, Game 5 (if necessary)FS1
Monday, Oct. 24NLCS, Game 6 (if necessary)FS1
ALCS, Game 5 (if necessary)TBS
Tuesday, Oct. 25NLCS, Game 7 (if necessary)Fox and FS1
ALCS, Game 6 (if necessary)TBS
Wednesday, Oct. 26ALCS, Game 7 (if necessary)TBS

Just like in the divisional round, the championship will be played with the same format as always, but with the elimination of a travel day. It will still be a best-of-seven, with a 2-3-2 format. In year’s past their would be a day off each time the series moved locations. This year, there will be no off-day between Game 5 and a potential Game 6.

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World Series Schedule

Friday, Oct. 28Game 1Fox
Saturday, Oct. 29Game 2Fox
Sunday, Oct. 30Travel Day
Monday, Oct. 31Game 3Fox
Tuesday., Nov. 1Game 4Fox
Wednesday, Nov. 2Game 5 (if necessary)Fox
Thursday, Nov. 3Travel Day
Friday, Nov. 4Game 6 (if necessary)Fox
Saturday, Nov. 5Game 7 (if necessary)Fox

The holy grail of the baseball calendar has not been impacted due to the lockout, as things will be played out as always with the same amount of days off. A seven game series with a 2-3-2 format will decide which team is going to become World Champions.