Today the MLB made official what we all expected. They expanded the playoffs to 10 teams. The change will take effect in October.
Even though the process is complicated due to lack of flexibility in the baseball calender and the official format has not been released yet this should be exciting news for White Sox fans. Most likely the fourth and fifth seeds will meet for a one game playoff with the winner advancing to face the number one seed.
The last time the White Sox were in the playoffs was 2008. Who can forget the famous “Blackout Game” with Jim Thome’s iconic home run to deep center field and John Danks’ masterful performance against the Minnesota Twins to win the division? The Sox advanced to meet the Tamapa Bay Rays who defeated the Sox and went on to lose against the Phillies in the World Series.
No one knows what to expect from this year’s White Sox team. They can be the doormat of the Central Division or be a sleeper team battling for playoff position all the way through October. What we do know is this new format can only help them.
At the end of each season there is always one constant. The Yankees and Red Sox always seem to be in position for a playoff berth. Now add in the perennial contenders The Tampa Bay Rays and it seems like two of the four playoff spots come from the same division.
The White Sox still have the odds stacked against them. The Los Angeles Angels and Anaheim and Texas Rangers are poised for a big season. Whichever team loses in that division will still be in line for one of these two wildcard spots.
Regardless of the new format, the White Sox still have to be successful within their own division. They can’t focus on the other teams until let’s say..October 4th. A potential “Blackout Game” at The Cell.