MLB announces postseason schedule, eliminates off days

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Except for travel days, there will be no off days in this year’s postseason schedule.  MLB announced the postseason dates today, with the ALDSs beginning on Friday, Sept. 30, followed by the NLDSs on Saturday, Oct. 1.

In order to best separate the games for TV coverage, MLB had previously scheduled certain divisional series with extra off days.  Now all four series are set to play their five scheduled games over seven days.  That means that Oct. 1 and 4 are scheduled to feature four games apiece, though Oct. 4 would have fewer games if either ALDS ends in a sweep.

All Divisional Series games are scheduled to air on TBS.

The Championship Series games are scheduled to run from Oct. 8-17.  The ALCS will air on FOX, while the NLCS will air on TBS.

The World Series will air on FOX and is scheduled to begin Oct. 19.  If the series requires seven games, it will conclude on Oct. 27.

It will be the earliest conclusion to the World Series since at least 2008.  Last year, World Series Game 1 was played on Oct. 27.  The season ended with Game 5 on Nov. 1.  In 2009, the season ended on Nov. 4.

Phillies owner John Middleton is in Las Vegas with Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper
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Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Phillies owner John Middleton flew to Las Vegas for a meeting with Bryce Harper on Friday. Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, it’s “more of a meet-and-greet than a sign-a-deal” affair, but as the club is still at the forefront of trade rumors involving the All-Star slugger, there remains a possibility (however slight) that something could be completed in the days to come.

Even now, the Phillies aren’t alone in the race to sign Harper, but recent rumors have helped whittle down the competition from five or more teams (Phillies, Nationals, White Sox, Giants, and Padres) to three strong contenders. The Giants are said to be interested in a lucrative short-term deal with the outfielder, while the Padres remain in the conversation despite inking Manny Machado to a mammoth 10-year, $300 million contract this week. It’s not yet clear just how far either team would go to outbid Philadelphia as talks with Harper intensify.

As for the Nationals and White Sox, the former officially bowed out earlier today, and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman adds that the latter won’t make a strong play for Harper as they feel the asking price and competing offers are “getting too high” for the 26-year-old’s services. If a mystery team is still in the mix, there’s been no word on their standing with Harper in the last month or so.