The Biggest Problem With The Playoff System

October 3, 2009 – 2:53 pm

CC Sabathia’s terrible performance Friday night brings to mind the biggest problem with the current MLB playoff system — the 5-game series that is used in the division series.  Had CC’s poor outing been in the first game of the ALDS rather than in his last start of the regular season, that would have immediately put the Yankees in a rather huge hole — in less than three innings they would have lost home field advantage, and would now need to win three of four games in order to advance to the ALCS.  At that point, one cheap hit or one missed call could mean the difference.  Inspite of finishing the season 40+ games over .500, they would be facing elimination from a team that went something like 10+ games over .500.  Just because of one poor performance from their No. 1 pitcher.  That just isn’t right.

There are other issues with the playoff system — there’s no real penalty for sneaking in as the wild card team, plus the unbalanced schedule gives a undeniable advantage to teams in weaker divisions in winning the wild card position.  And I would love to see those issues addressed, particularly the first as that would seem such an easy one to fix.  But those are minor issues relative to the 5-game series problem.  This is a huge problem — the divsional series absolutely must be extended to seven games.  If that means cutting two games off the regular season schedule, then so be it.  The 5-game series is just too much of a crap shoot.

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