Astros: MLB expanded postseason leaves more room for error

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - JULY 21: Manager Dusty Baker, Jr. #12 of the Houston Astros during an exhibition game against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on July 21, 2020 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - JULY 21: Manager Dusty Baker, Jr. #12 of the Houston Astros during an exhibition game against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on July 21, 2020 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit

MLB and the players have agreed on an expanded postseason format for 2020.

Just before the 2020 season got underway, MLB and the players came to an agreement on an expanded postseason format, which was one issue they actually seemed to agree on back during the contentious money negotiations. This is a positive development for most teams, including the Houston Astros.

Under this one-season-only format, a total of 16 teams will make the playoffs (eight in each league). Each division winner and each division’s second place team will be in, along with the two teams with the best records among the remaining clubs. Theoretically, a fourth-place team could make the playoffs this season.

The division winners will get the top three seeds, with the second place teams getting the next three seeds. The last two teams will get the seventh and eighth seeds. The first round will be a best-of-three series played entirely at the higher-seeded team’s home field, so anything can happen. The remaining rounds would be as normal — a pair of five-game Division Series in each league, followed by seven-game LCS and World Series.

Helping the Astros?

More from Climbing Tal's Hill

Basically, the expanded postseason gives the Astros more room for error. They’ve got a bullpen full of unproven arms along with the constant risk of players going down with COVID-19 concerns. This short 60-game season is going to be insanely unpredictable.

The Astros should still be one of the sport’s better teams, so their chances of making the postseason only increase. Once there, they might have an advantage in a three-game series thanks to the makeup of their pitching staff.

Their top three starting pitchers, Justin Verlander, Zack Greinke and Lance McCullers Jr., can match up against any team’s. The bullpen has yet to be sorted out, but the lineup is deep and imposing. They’d have as good a chance as anyone to advance in the first round. If they play that series on the road, they’d be a shoo-in if you consider their home/road performance in the World Series last year.

Needing to come up with a fourth starter in a longer series could be an issue, but we’ll see how the season goes. For now, the expanded postseason just gives the Astros more room for error, which is a big plus in such a short, unpredictable campaign.

facebooktwitterreddit