Let’s get something out of the way: the MLB Playoff format isn’t set up correctly. There’s been a lot of consternation surrounding the time off that the top 2 teams get. And it should be noted that there seems to be some valid concerns here. The Astros, Braves, Orioles, and Dodgers are a combined 1-5 in the playoffs. The Braves had one of their worst offensive games of the year in Game 1 against the Phillies and Kershaw and the Dodgers slept through their 1st game. However, the argument that teams aren’t ready to play after a long layoff ignores Houston winning Game 1 of their series against the Twins, and the Orioles, despite losing 3-2, didn’t look like they were rusty or that the time off hurt them. The onus has to lay on the teams for simply not performing like they did in the regular season.
However, what does need to change is the lack of reseeding the matchups in the Divisional Round based on who wins in the Wildcard Round. Arizona won their matchup in the Wildcard Round as the 6th seed. In the NFL, the 6th seed would go face the #1 seed unless the 7th seed wins their game as well. The Braves are matched up with a higher seed than the Dodgers. It doesn’t mean the Braves would’ve beaten Arizona and still can’t beat the Phillies, and we saw how Arizona looked in Game 1 of their series and overall in the playoffs, but it just doesn’t feel right for the best team to not always be playing the lowest seed.
At the end of the day, the teams with a bye have to be better, and last year in the AL, the two teams with a bye reached the ALCS. There’s definitely benefits to having time off and aligning your rotation to your liking. Teams on the bye don’t have an excuse. They have to be better and they know that. However, MLB should reseed in the Divisional Round based on who wins in the Wildcard Round