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.
The Red Sox are off and running in the first inning of Game 1 of the World Series against the Dodgers. Andrew Benintendi and J.D. Martinez each hit RBI singles off of Clayton Kershaw to give the Red Sox an early 2-0 lead.
Benintendi’s hit to right field ended with a replay review. Rather than throw to the cutoff man, right fielder Yasiel Puig fired home to try nabbing Mookie Betts, but his throw was poor. Catcher Austin Barnes caught the ball a few feet in front of and to the right of home plate, then whipped the ball to second base in an attempt to get Benintendi. Benintendi clearly beat the throw, but shortstop Manny Machado kept the tag applied. After Benintendi was ruled safe, the Dodgers challenged, arguing that Benintendi’s hand may have come off the second base bag for a microsecond while Machado’s glove was on him. The ruling on the field was upheld and the Red Sox continued to rally.
Replay review over base-keeping is not in the spirit of the rule and shouldn’t be permitted. Hopefully Major League Baseball considers changing the rule in the offseason. Besides the oftentimes uncontrollable minute infractions, these kinds of replay reviews slow the game down more than other types of reviews because they tend not to be as obvious as other situations.
Baseball has become so technical and rigid that it seems foolish to leave gray area in this regard. A runner is either off the base or he isn’t. However, the gradual result of enforcing these “runner’s hand came off the base for a fraction of a second” situations is runners running less aggressively and sliding less often so there’s no potential of them losing control of their body around the base. Base running, particularly the aggressive, sliding variety, is quietly one of the most fun aspects of the game. Policing the game to this degree, then, serves to make the game less fun and exciting.
Where does one draw the line then? To quote Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, describing obscenity in Jacobellis v. Ohio, “I know it when I see it.” This is one area where I am comfortable giving the umpires freedom to enforce the rule at their discretion and making these situations impermissible for replay review.