Baseball commissioner Bud Selig said on Thursday that he is willing to consider expanding the playoffs as early as next season, and said a larger postseason might not have to wait for collective bargaining with the players, according to the Associated Press.
“Obviously, we have to talk to the union,” Selig said. “These are all details we have to work out. While I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it, we have a lot of different opinions on the subject — how to do it, if to do it.”
Michael Weiner, the head of the players’ union, said his members are open to extending the playoffs, including making the division series a best-of-seven series.
Since the wild card was added to the MLB playoff format in 1995, eight of the league’s 30 teams have made the playoffs. That’s a far cry from the NBA and NHL, where 16 of 30 advance. In the NFL, 12 of 32 teams compete in the postseason.
There have been a number of ideas thrown around for how to expand the playoffs, including having two wild card teams play each other in a one-game playoff for the chance to play the team with the best record in the LDS. That wouldn’t add a whole lot to the postseason, would add some incentive to nabbing the top seed, and might add a little more intrigue to the stretch run.
But Selig said he is concerned about the playoffs stretching too deep into the cold-weather season, saying “we’ll look at everything, but look, I’m already concerned.”
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Orioles closer Zach Britton is likely done for the remainder of the 2017 season after receiving a stem cell injection in his left knee, Peter Schmuck and Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun report. Britton has been battling knee problems for most of the season.
The Orioles are still technically in the AL Wild Card race, entering play Thursday 5.5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card slot. With only nine games remaining, however, the 73-80 Orioles are likely being realistic about their chances and not taking any unnecessary risks with Britton.
Britton, 29, put up a 2.89 ERA with 15 saves and a 29/18 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings this season. He will be eligible for arbitration for the fourth and final time this offseason.
The Dodgers staved off a four-game series sweep at the hands of the Phillies, winning 5-4 on Thursday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. The win reduced their magic number in the NL West to one, meaning that a win against the Giants at home or a Diamondbacks loss to the Marlins on Friday will result in clinching the division.
Of course, the Dodgers winning and the Diamondbacks losing hasn’t exactly been a sure thing lately. The D-Backs rattled off a 13-game winning streak from August 24 through September 6. The Dodgers lost 11 games in a row from September 2-11 and were on a four-game slide before Thursday’s win.
The Dodgers will send Rich Hill to the mound to start opposite Jeff Samardzija. The Diamondbacks have Zack Greinke opposing Adam Conley.