MLB released its postseason schedule on Monday, giving fans their first look at how the newly expanded playoffs will affect the overall postseason timeframe.
The most important date for many will be when the World Series begins, which is Friday, Oct. 28. That, as well as the entire postseason schedule, had to be pushed back this year due to the offseason lockout, which bled into spring training. If the World Series goes to Game 7, it will end on Saturday, Nov. 5.
How will expanded playoffs work?
Before we dive into the nitty gritty of the actual game-by-game schedule, let's look at how the expanded playoffs will work. MLB added a third wild-card spot to both the AL and the NL as part of the recent collective bargaining agreement, and the six playoff teams in each division will be seeded to determine who plays in the first round of games. The teams with the best and second-best records get a bye for the first round, leaving the three wild-card teams and the division winner with the worst record to duke it out.
After the wild-card series, the winners will advance to the division series, which looks just like it has the last few years.
What is the postseason schedule?
There will be four best-of-three wild-card series happening in the first round, encompassing both leagues. The division winners with the third-best record will face the wild-card teams with the worst record, and the remaining teams will face each other. Here's the schedule:
Oct. 7: Game 1 of each wild-card series (four games)
Oct. 8: Game 2 of each wild-card series (four games)
Oct. 9: Game 3 of each wild-card series, if necessary (0-4 games)
After that, the schedule looks a lot more familiar. The two NL Division Series games and the two AL Division Series games kick off on Tuesday, Oct. 11 and run through Monday, Oct. 17 if necessary. The Division Series is a best-of-five contest. The asterisk denotes that the game will only be played if necessary
Oct. 11: NLDS Game 1, ALDS Game 1
Oct. 12: NLDS Game 2
Oct. 13: ALDS Game 2
Oct. 14: NLDS Game 3
Oct. 15: ALDS Game 3, NLDS Game 4*
Oct. 16: ALDS Game 4*, NLDS Game 5*
Oct. 17: ALDS Game 5*
The NL and AL Championship Series, which are best-of-seven, each kick off two days after Game 5 of the Division Series, whether they actually take place or not.
Oct. 18: NLCS Game 1
Oct. 19: ALCS Game 1, NLCS Game 2
Oct. 20: ALCS Game 2
Oct. 21: NLCS Game 3
Oct. 22: ALCS Game 3, NLCS Game 4
Oct. 23: ALCS Game 4, NLCS Game 5*
Oct. 24: ALCS Game 5*, NLCS Game 6*
Oct. 25: ALCS Game 6*, NLCS Game 7*
Oct. 26: ALCS Game 7*
And then, of course, there's the World Series.
Oct. 28: Game 1
Oct. 29: Game 2
Oct. 31: Game 3
Nov. 1: Game 4
Nov. 2: Game 5*
Nov. 4: Game 6*
Nov. 5: Game 7*