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.
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:
- No. 3 St. Louis Cardinals host No. 6 Philadelphia Phillies
- No. 4 New York Mets host No. 5 San Diego Padres
- 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. 7||Game 1: Guardians vs. Rays||12:07 p.m. ET||ESPN|
|Game 1: Cardinals vs. Phillies||2:07 p.m. ET||ABC|
|Game 1: Blue Jays vs. Mariners||4:07 p.m. ET||ESPN|
|Game 1: Mets vs. Padres||8:07 p.m. ET||ESPN|
|Saturday, Oct. 8||Game 2: Guardians vs. Rays||12:07 p.m. ET||ESPN2|
|Game 2: Blue Jays vs. Mariners||4:07 p.m. ET||ESPN|
|Game 2: Mets vs. Padres||7:37 p.m. ET||ESPN|
|Game 2: Cardinals vs. Phillies||8:37 p.m. ET||ESPN2|
|Sunday, Oct. 9||Game 3: Blue Jays vs. Mariners (if necessary)||2:07 p.m. ET||ABC|
|Game 3: Guardians vs. Rays (if necessary)||4:07 p.m. ET||ESPN|
|Game 3: Mets vs. Padres (if necessary)||7:37 p.m. ET||ESPN|
|Game 3: Cardinals vs. Phillies (if necessary)||8:37 p.m. ET||ESPN2|
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. 11||Game 1: Braves vs. TBD||Fox or FS1|
|Game 1: Dodgers vs. TBD||Fox or FS1|
|Game 1: Yankees vs. TBD||TBS|
|Game 1: Astros vs. TBD||TBS|
|Wednesday., Oct. 12||Game 2: Braves vs. TBD||Fox or FS1|
|Game 2: Dodgers vs. TBD||Fox or FS1|
|Thursday, Oct. 13||Game 2: Yankees vs. TBD||TBS|
|Game 2: Astros vs. TBD||TBS|
|Friday, Oct. 14||Game 3: Braves vs. TBD||FS1|
|Game 3: Dodgers vs. TBD||FS1|
|Saturday, Oct. 15||Game 4: Braves vs. TBD (if necessary)||FS1|
|Game 4: Dodgers vs. TBD (if necessary)||FS1|
|Game 3: Yankees vs. TBD||TBS|
|Game 3: Astros vs. TBD||TBS|
|Sunday, Oct. 16||Game 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. 17||Game 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. 18||NLCS, Game 1||Fox or FS1|
|Wednesday, Oct. 19||NLCS, Game 2||Fox or FS1|
|ALCS, Game 1||TBS|
|Thursday, Oct. 20||ALCS, Game 2||TBS|
|Friday, Oct. 21||NLCS, Game 3||FS1|
|Saturday, Oct. 22||NLCS, Game 4||Fox or FS1|
|ALCS, Game 3||TBS|
|Sunday, Oct. 23||NLCS, Game 5 (if necessary)||FS1|
|ALCS, Game 4||TBS|
|Monday, Oct. 24||NLCS, Game 6 (if necessary)||FS1|
|ALCS, Game 5 (if necessary)||TBS|
|Tuesday, Oct. 25||NLCS, Game 7 (if necessary)||Fox and FS1|
|ALCS, Game 6 (if necessary)||TBS|
|Wednesday, Oct. 26||ALCS, 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.
World Series Schedule
|Friday, Oct. 28||Game 1||Fox|
|Saturday, Oct. 29||Game 2||Fox|
|Sunday, Oct. 30||Travel Day|
|Monday, Oct. 31||Game 3||Fox|
|Tuesday., Nov. 1||Game 4||Fox|
|Wednesday, Nov. 2||Game 5 (if necessary)||Fox|
|Thursday, Nov. 3||Travel Day|
|Friday, Nov. 4||Game 6 (if necessary)||Fox|
|Saturday, Nov. 5||Game 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.