60-game schedule to make 2020 MLB season an unpredictable sprint

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Editor’s note: This first appeared on AMNY.com

At least sports fans can take solace in knowing that there will be baseball this season. 

After the players’ union rejected the league’s final 60-game proposal, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred implemented a 60-game season of his own — under the terms of the March 26 agreement guaranteeing players with full, prorated salaries — set to begin around July 24. 

One of the most glaring, immediate parameters of the implemented season is that MLB will not have an expanded postseason, which was a major talking point throughout negotiations. 

The owners wanted to see 16 teams reach the playoffs rather than the traditional 10, ensuring less punishment for teams who had slow starts to the 60-game schedule. 

While the season’s format will provide plenty of excitement with a sprint to the playoffs, history suggests that it won’t truly decipher the teams most worthy of a playoff spot. Granted, it’s just the breaks of how the season works.

Still, if the 2019 season ended after just 60 games, the World Series-champion Washington Nationals would not have made the playoffs. The Phillies, who finished fourth in the NL East last year would have been the division winners. 

Rather than the Cardinals making the playoffs — they were 31-29 at the 60-game mark last season — the Cubs would have not only been in the playoffs, but would have been the NL Central champions. 

In the American League, the Texas Rangers and Boston Red Sox would have been fighting for a final playoff spot rather than the Oakland Athletics, who made the Wild Card Game.

On the flipside, if you want to look at MLB’s 60-game season as a frantic sprint to the finish like a pennant race toward the end of a normal season, the playoff picture last year would have looked considerably different:

2019 MLB Standings- Final 60 Games

NL EAST

  1. Mets — 39-21
  2. Nationals — 38-22
  3. Braves — 37-23
  4. Phillies — 27-33
  5. Marlins — 18-42

NL CENTRAL

  1. Cardinals — 36-24
  2. Brewers — 36-24
  3. Cubs — 29-31
  4. Reds — 28-32
  5. Pirates — 23-37

NL WEST

  1. Dodgers — 39-21
  2. Diamondbacks — 34-26
  3. Giants — 25-35
  4. Rockies — 24-36
  5. Padres — 22-38

AL EAST

  1. Rays — 39-21
  2. Yankees — 37-23
  3. Blue Jays — 29-31
  4. Red Sox — 28-32
  5. Orioles — 21-39

AL CENTRAL

  1. Twins — 39-21
  2. Indians — 33-27
  3. White Sox — 27-33
  4. Royals — 21-39
  5. Tigers — 17-42

AL WEST

  1. Astros — 42-18
  2. Athletics — 39-21
  3. Mariners — 28-32
  4. Rangers — 27-33
  5. Angels — 19-41

There are some noticeable differences compared to what we had after 162 games — most notably in the seedings:

2019 NL Playoff Seeding

  1. Los Angeles Dodgers
  2. Atlanta Braves
  3. St. Louis Cardinals
  4. Washington Nationals
  5. Milwaukee Brewers

2019 60-Game NL Playoff Seeding

  1. Los Angeles Dodgers
  2. New York Mets
  3. St. Louis Cardinals
  4. Washington Nationals
  5. Atlanta Braves

2019 AL Playoff Seeding

  1. Houston Astros
  2. New York Yankees
  3. Minnesota Twins
  4. Oakland Athletics
  5. Tampa Bay Rays

2019 60-Game AL Playoff Seeding

  1. Houston Astros 
  2. Minnesota Twins
  3. Tampa Bay Rays
  4. Oakland Athletics
  5. New York Yankees

More from our Sister Sites