CLEVELAND — On Tuesday night, a Jose Ramirez 10th inning walk-off home run against the Chicago White Sox clinched the Cleveland Indians a spot in the 2020 MLB Playoffs.
With that, the Indians find themselves headed to a unique offseason unlike any other in baseball's history.
Just ahead of the start of the 60-game regular season that began in July due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, MLB and its players' association reached an agreement for an expanded postseason. In addition to more teams being added to the field, the two sides have also since agreed to have games be played at neutral site "bubble" locations beginning in the Divisional Championship Series' and continuing through the World Series.
In a sport often slow to change, baseball has done just that, leaving a lot to keep up with in a short period of time. With that in mind, here's a look at what this year's playoffs will look like and where they will be played.
2020 MLB Playoffs format
While the MLB postseason has traditionally consisted of five teams in each league, this year's playoff has expanded to a full eight teams in both the American and National Leagues.
As a result, the play-in Wild Card Game has been eliminated, replaced by a Wild Card Round consisting of four best-of-three series' in each league. The three division champions in both leagues will clinch Wild Card spots, with the five remaining playoff positions being filled by Wild Card teams.
In the Wild Card round, the No. 1 seed will play the No. 8 seed, the No. 2 seed will play the No. 7 seed, the No. 3 seed will play the No. 6 seed and the No. 4 seed will play the No. 5 seed. From there, the winners will advance to a traditional best-of-five Division Series, followed by a best-of-seven League Championship Series and ultimately, a best-of-seven World Series.
Where will the 2020 MLB Playoffs be played?
In an effort to reduce travel, all games played in the Wild Card round will be played at the higher seed's home ballpark. That means that only the top four seeds in each league will be hosting home games during the 2020 postseason.
That's because after the Wild Card round, all MLB Playoff games will be played at the following neutral site locations:
- America League Division Series: San Diego, California, and Los Angeles, California
- National League Division Series: Arlington, Texas and Houston, Texas
- American League Championship Series: San Diego, California
- National League Championship Series: Arlington, Texas
- World Series: Arlington, Texas
When will the 2020 MLB Playoffs take place?
Earlier this month, MLB announced the following schedule for the 2020 playoffs:
- Wild Card Round: Tuesday, Sept. 29-Friday, Oct. 2
- Division Series: Monday, Oct. 5-Saturday, Oct. 10
- League Championship Series: Sunday, Oct. 11-Sunday, Oct. 18
- World Series: Tuesday, Oct. 20-Wednesday, Oct. 28