Skip to content

Do expanded playoffs help the Nats?

Mar 1, 2012, 12:00 PM EDT

US Presswire file photo
Could the MLB playoffs come to Nationals Park as soon as this year?

VIERA, Fla. — Major League Baseball is expected to announce today that its plan to expand the postseason to include 10 total clubs will be implemented this season. Yes, with only one month to go until Opening Day, MLB is just now announcing the formation of an extra wild-card team per league.

Whether you're a fan of the new system or not — full disclosure: I'm not a fan — you do have to acknowledge the Nationals stand to benefit from this change as much as anyone else in the sport.

Why? Because all of a sudden, you can finish third in your division and still make the postseason. And that's a position many expect the Nationals to finish in this year, behind the Phillies and Braves in the NL East.

There's no guarantee the extra wild-card will come out of the NL East, but the division certainly looks strong enough to produce three playoffRead more ยป

  1. alexva - Mar 1, 2012 at 12:06 PM

    Give me Jordan Zimmermann pitching in Hotlanta and I'll take my chances. At first I was against this but I heard Harold Reynolds say last night that it wasn't fair that the wild card team had the same chance as the division winners. Now they have to play an extra game and possibly burn their ace for game one. A valid point and one that changed my opinion.

  2. joemktg - Mar 1, 2012 at 12:11 PM

    MLB's objective is to build more excitement in September across the schedule. More meaningful games = more excitement = better gate = improved ratings. So for the Natosphere, it's not about hosting a single playoff game, but the process of making the playoffs: that's the source of the thrill.MLB moves at a glacial pace vis-a-vis the other pro sports, so this change was a long-time coming, i.e., it's time. A single play-in game will impact dozens and dozens of preceding games, making things a tad more exciting. I love it.

  3. Joe S. - Mar 1, 2012 at 12:12 PM

    I'm not against it, but it's still weird, given divisional imbalances. In the AL and NL East, the #3 team is likely to have a better W-L than the #1 teams in the other divisions.

  4. Joe Seamhead - Mar 1, 2012 at 12:14 PM

    How does this benefit the Nationals? We'll have the division wrapped up. We're not playing for a stinking wild card spot. This might end up helping the Phillies to back in.

  5. Natslifer - Mar 1, 2012 at 12:14 PM

    and I think the other way. There's no other sport that gives such a clear advantage to one team. In football, you could argue that the advantage goes the other way (better to keep playing than to take a week off). If the complaint was that 5 game series weren't fair to the favorite, then they should've changed all the series to 7 games and dealt with the schedule issue separately.

  6. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 1, 2012 at 12:15 PM

    Joe S….. for only 1 season. The leagues are balanced starting in 2013.

  7. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 1, 2012 at 12:18 PM

    Sorry. Thought you were talking about the divisional # of teams imbalance, not the quality imbalance. I'll go back to work now.

  8. MicheleS - Mar 1, 2012 at 12:21 PM

    I like this. I don't think the Wild Cards should be given an advantage. If they have to use the #1 starter in the 1 game playoff, so be it. This year, we would have 3 guys (excluding Stras because of Innings limit) that I would start in either the 1 game playoff and the NLDS

  9. Positively Half St. - Mar 1, 2012 at 12:26 PM

    I am not for it as it is currently structured. There is no advantage for the 1st wild card team other than home field advantage. I would rather that they made is a best of 3, with the #1 wild card starting with a 1-0 advantage. In that way, the #1 could end it by winning one game, while the #2 would have to win two in a row. This would only make it a two-game series, at worst.I can imagine being crushed to have the Nats win the #1 wild card easily, only to lose that single game and be out.+1/2St.

  10. Joe Seamhead - Mar 1, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    Here's a possible scenario: Two teams in a division end up tied for 1st at the end of the regular season, have to play a one game tie breaker, the losing team ends up with the last wild card spot, and then has to play the one game playoff.

  11. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 1, 2012 at 12:32 PM

    I'm not with you on this one "Half"….This makes winning the Division a must while getting the wild card a crap shoot. And the one game playoff makes it Game 5 or Game 7, which ever way you look at it. And if somebody's feelings have to be crushed, so be it.

  12. Theophilus - Mar 1, 2012 at 12:41 PM

    Doesn't do anything for me. Just makes more important to beat the Philths. Being WC# not only means 1-and-out but on the road and in that cheap Citizens Band ballpark that makes the outcome as arbitrary as a pinball game.

  13. Theophilus - Mar 1, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    As I think more clearly, I don't see Nats being 3d in the NL East this year. Just don't see it. So, this year, not much risk of being in Philthadelphia. Just have fear and loathing of that stadium.

  14. Friend of all the World - Mar 1, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    Seems to me one of the better arguments against it, is that a division winner from a crappy division with no one pushing them, can coast into the playoffs resting their players, setting up their rotations. While 2 teams in a tougher division (and both with better records) have to go into a dog fight to avoid the play-in game, and will end up at a disadvantage compared to the lesser team that won some other weak division.

  15. Will - Mar 1, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    I could very easily see the NL East turning into the AL East of last year, with 4 teams at or above .500, and I'm pretty confident the Nationals will be 3rd again. The Marlins simply haven't improved as much as it appears (Reyes is a clear upgrade, but Buerhle merely replaces Javier Vazquez's departure, and Bell is only a reliever).I'm not, however, confident that the Nats will be get the 2nd wild card. The lesser of the Brewers and Cardinals will still be very good, and I wouldn't write off the Giants or Diamondbacks, depending on which doesn't win the West.We could make a run for it, but I don't think this is our year.

  16. Cease the Opportunity - Mar 1, 2012 at 1:05 PM

    Great drama…

  17. Will - Mar 1, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    Friend of all the World,I'm not sure that's a new phenomenon, as the Wild Card team has always played the team with the best record (as long as that team was not from the same division). As a result, there was still incentive to finish with a better record, regardless of your inter-division competition, as it would give you an advantage to who you would play in the first round.This new format doesn't change that dynamic.

  18. Anonymous - Mar 1, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    What Natsjack said. This seems to me to take us back to the "good ol days" in tnat it makes winning the division really important. So the real pennant races – for first place- will matter much more than they have in recent years. But at the same time, the "wild card"race becomes more wide open. Put those two things together, i think it should usually make september a lot more exciting. So i like it.

  19. joemktg - Mar 1, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    I'm with alexva and MicheleS re: burning the #1. It could be a Pyrrhic victory coming out of the play-in game: both teams will configure their rotation so that they're going with their #1 in that game, so not only is he toast for Game 1 of the following series, he's probably good for only 1 start (if it goes that far). The teams that move on are the ones with the deepest rotations. And that's probably the way it should be.

  20. Anonymous - Mar 1, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    "That's what could happen to the No. 2 wild-card from each league. Their entire season will rest on a one-game playoff. On the road. Good luck with that."That No 2 wild card club's season would be over but for having the chance in that one playoff road game, no? Some chance is better than no chance and it is not like road teams have no chance in playoff baseball or anything either.This new format means that every game from Opening Day on is bigger than under the prior set of rules; more clubs toward the middle of the curve are going to be in the hunt and those clubs will be separated by 1 game at season's end. It's gonna be fun as at least half of baseball will have a chance at the All Star Break. Not sure I like it, but it is hard for me to think that it won't be interesting. We'll see.dfh21

  21. baseballswami - Mar 1, 2012 at 1:20 PM

    This is easy – we just win the NL East and then no worries. Is it true that in 2013 we won't have to play the Phils, Marlins and Braves 18 times anymore? Not sure how the changes will work once Houston goes to the AL. For this year, though – Go Nats!!!!! I propose that we not just take back our park, but take over their parks as well – on the field, where it counts. I am soooooo drinking the Nats koolaid this morning – the sun is out, the air is spring-like and I am ready for games to begin!!!

  22. baseballswami - Mar 1, 2012 at 1:21 PM

    Wow – just read my own post – I have got the fever – baseball fever — real bad today.

  23. SCNatsFan - Mar 1, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    I agree, NL east teams will be beating on NL east teams all year, will be hard to get three out of the division although they might be the most deserving.

  24. Joe Seamhead - Mar 1, 2012 at 1:28 PM

    Swami, I'm right there with you!

  25. natscan reduxit - Mar 1, 2012 at 1:29 PM

    " … how would you feel about the Nationals reaching the playoffs but not being able to host at least one game in the month of October?"… not a problem. There are fans of the team – scads of 'em – who can never attend a game, playoff or not, and will never get that chance. For them, a playoff game on TV is as rewarding if it happens on the road as it is when the game is played at home.Go Nats!!

  26. jcj5y - Mar 1, 2012 at 1:31 PM

    I'm favorable toward a system that emphasizes the importance of (and rewards) winning your division. Although when the schedules are evenly balanced next year, winning a division will have a lot less meaning.Ultimately, with a balanced schedule, I'd like to see the elimination of divisions altogether. Top 3 records in each league get first round byes, 4th and 5th best record play each other to see who makes the division series as a wildcard. That makes a lot more sense to me.

  27. Friend of all the World - Mar 1, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    Will,I do not agree. I think there will much more incentive to win the division in the new system. There are going to be some really good teams getting knocked out in the play-in game. Baseball needs to be careful not to de-value the regular season too much (e.g. NBA). I like jcj5y's proposal. Go to a more balanced schedule and then can the divisions.

  28. Bozo - Mar 1, 2012 at 1:49 PM

    Why not just turn Major League baseball playoffs into an NCAA-style tournament with lousy teams getting in. Bud Selig's mission in life is to destroy as much as possible in the sport of baseball. Will pink balls, designated runners and mercy rules come next?

  29. natscan reduxit - Mar 1, 2012 at 1:49 PM

    … you know, I've been thinking about this notion, presented by Mark with his question about a play-off game 'on the road', that a team's fan base is the group of people who can attend games in the team's home park. That, IMHO, is a small part of the team's fan base, and represents small thinking in today's world. … the teams all realise this. TV revenue makes up a huge part of their revenue, and it's not simply those fans who attend home games and watch away games on TV who make up that viewing public. Fans of teams exist everywhere, and in this day of the global village, where the fans live has less and less to do with the team's success than it once did. … I can buy a Nats cap, and wear it proudly, here in New Brunswick. A fan can sport a Nats' home jersey while mowing his lawn in Topeka. Taxi drivers in Liverpool can paste Nats bumper stickers on their cabs. Dutch fans of the team can post their passion from Amsterdam on websites just like this one, and join with similar minded folk from all parts of the globe…. the fan base of any team, like the world itself, is no longer a limited seating option; it embraces many more people than any of us realise.Go Nats … fans!!

  30. Tcostant - Mar 1, 2012 at 1:59 PM

    I love it.The two post that nailed it the best are Anon at 8:08 and alexva because both are clear in the fact that winning the division means something. Two many races were like last years Rays and Yankees, where both teams knew they were in the playoffs and coasted at the end rather than trying to with the diviision. I like that winning the division gets you a little more of an advantage. ABut teams do get hot, so don't think we've seen the last of wild card teams winning the WS!

  31. NatsNut - Mar 1, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    No worries here. If we don't win the division, we'll certainly have the better record of the two wild cards. Just in case though, I'll just book tickets to wherever they go. My brother lives in Atlanta anyway. =)

  32. Steve M. - Mar 1, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    Playoffs!?! The NHL allows over 1/2 their teams in the playoffs. It isn't quite a 16th seed beating a #1 like the NCAA but its still a joke to have greater than 50% of your teams make the postseason. It cheapens it.I don't like adding an additional 2 teams to the MLB playoff picture but if it results in the Nats making the playoffs, then selfishly I am for it.

  33. N. Cognito - Mar 1, 2012 at 2:15 PM

    Rip Van Winkle said…"Two many races were like last years Rays and Yankees, where both teams knew they were in the playoffs and coasted at the end rather than trying to with the diviision."Go back to sleep.

  34. natsfan1a - Mar 1, 2012 at 2:20 PM

    Gee, way to rip on the poor guy, N. Cog. ;-)On topic, I guess that I'm somewhat conflicted about it. On the one hand, I'm not big on the one-game playoff idea, though Alex and Reynolds have a point. On the other hand, would I complain if the Nats advanced by winning a one-game playoff? I think not. (Geez, what a frontrunner.) :-)

  35. ehay2k - Mar 1, 2012 at 2:28 PM

    I'm undecided at the moment for a lot of the reasons cited above. However, I do agree that the end of the regular season will be more exciting. Only teams that have absolutely locked up the division can coast. Everyone else will slug it out.One question: under the new system, if a wild card team has a better record than a division winner (after the play-in game is over), can they have home-field advantage? Or does that belong to the division winner in any case?

  36. ehay2k - Mar 1, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    Clarification – I am assuming that the wild card team cannot face a team from their own division, is that also the case? I think that is the only way they could face a team with a lower number of wins after the WC playoff game.

  37. John C. - Mar 1, 2012 at 2:35 PM

    I'm for it. Don't want to play a gimmicky one-and-done playoff game, possibly on the road? Win your foofnarfeling division.Unhappy because your team has to go on the road for the Wild Card game? As dfh noted, it's a lot better chance than the Braves had last year.Wild card teams have won the WS (I think, this is off the top of my head) five times in 17 years. This move, while expanding the playoffs, actually decreases the chances that a wild card team will win the WS. It will still happen, but much less often. Don't get hung up on the labels, look at the result. It makes the regular season more meaningful.Those cries you hear about how this affects the pennant races? Sound a lot like the cries you heard when the wild card was created. Remember when 103 wins was not good enough to get into the playoffs (1993 – you can look it up; Giants fans don't need to). There were still pennant races and great finishes, and there still will be. Only instead of 100+ win teams (pre Wild Card) or 92-94 win teams (Wild Card) they will involve 88-92 win teams – the victors will then enter the playoffs with a significant handicap.I'm not a fan of Selig at all – but this I like.

  38. Feel Wood - Mar 1, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    I think that over time being one of the two wild card teams will no longer be considered as "making the playoffs." The team that "makes the playoffs" will be the team that wins the wild card game. The other team will be a forgotten footnote, like the team that loses a one-game tie-breaking playoff at the end of a season. When people talk and write about the postseason in the future, they will still talk about the Division Series, the League Championship Series, and the World Series. The teams that play in those series will be the teams talked about as "playoff teams," not the team that unfortunately loses the wild card game at the end of the season. Unless the wild card game itself is particularly dramatic, the name of the losing team will likely be forgotten, the answer to a trivia question. No team is going to fly a pennant or put up a sign in its ballpark if it loses the wildcard game. Okay, maybe the Marlins would.

  39. Feel Wood - Mar 1, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    Clarification – I am assuming that the wild card team cannot face a team from their own division, is that also the case?No longer true under the new format.

  40. UpperDec - Mar 1, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    If you don't want to play in the 1-game playoff win your Division!I am old school in thinking that wild card teams should be considered lucky to make the playoffs.

  41. N. Cognito - Mar 1, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    Has anybody heard if the play-in game will be considered a playoff game or a regular season game, as one game tie-breakers do now?

  42. Eugene in Oregon - Mar 1, 2012 at 2:49 PM

    I was initially very much opposed to adding another playoff team, but I've come around a bit. I like the concept of rewarding the teams that win their divisions (primarily by forcing the two wild card teams to use their aces in their single-game 'series,' thus screwing up their rotations for the divisional series). In effect — or at least the way I rationalize my acceptance of it — the wild card game shouldn't even be considered the 'playoffs,' but just a 'play in' game to decide who gets the last spot in the real playoffs.

  43. JamesFan - Mar 1, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    I see four teams in the NL East going about .500 against each other and beating most others fairly badly over the season. Long year for the Mets. The team that wins the most games outside the NL East may be the team to win the division. Injuries could also be a dominant factor.Phils could be very good again or fade. No way to tell. Marlins, Braves and Nats are young and up and coming.

  44. DL in VA - Mar 1, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    The ONLY thing I don't like about this is that the #4 team might have 90 wins, while the #5 team might have say 82. If the two teams come from different divisions, that's probably no big deal, but I really don't like the possibility that the 82 win team wins the Magic Eight-Win Game at the end of the year to advance over the 90 win team in the same division. It's like the snitch being worth 150 points in quidditch when everything else is worth 5… and why quidditch is obviously not a real game.

  45. Canada's #1 Nts Fan - Mar 1, 2012 at 2:52 PM

    I love the idea of the extra wildcard but it should be a best 2 out of 3 series rather than a single game sudeen death. Every team that makes the playoffs should be able to host at least one playoff game.

  46. Anonymous - Mar 1, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    John C's take is a good one in my eyes. This does make winning the WS harder for a wildcard team and it keeps more teams alive longer into the season at the same time. So while not perfect by any means, all in all it's a winner for me.dfh21

  47. Steve M. - Mar 1, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    The Wild Card strategy doesn't necessarily mean the team can throw their Ace. Timing is everything so it may mean you go with your #4 like EJax if that is where you are in the rotation. If a team has 3 Aces, they may not miss a beat as short series generally favor the teams with better pitching.

  48. James Bjork - Mar 1, 2012 at 3:05 PM

    __________________What Natsjack said. This seems to me to take us back to the "good ol days" in tnat it makes winning the division really important. So the real pennant races – for first place- will matter much more than they have in recent years. But at the same time, the "wild card"race becomes more wide open. Put those two things together, i think it should usually make september a lot more exciting. So i like it. _________________Yep, this pretty much nails it for me. I look at this as sort of completing the fix. Introducing a single wild-card eliminated the travesty of 100+ win teams going home on Sept 30th because they happened to reside (through no fault of the players (or even owner) in a talent-heavy division, while an 86-win team from a crummy division gets in. However, as others note, there was little incentive for a team obviously headed for a wild-card as "worst-case" scenario to compete hard after Mid-September.Adding the 1-game play-in and all the risk of having to win in a single "game of inches" will incentivize winning the division. I care more about that aspect than expanding eligibility of another team to squeak in from each league. I like how the 1-game play-in loser simply becomes a footnote, like the loser of game 163. I think that's how this will play out in the years ahead.Selig has done a lot of annoying things, but I think this one's a winner.

  49. Anonymous - Mar 1, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    No one has mentioned that the play-in game lengthens the season by another couple of days (one game plus a travel day). Since the regular season was extended to 162 games in 1963, we get snowed-out games in late March and World Series games in mid-Oct., played in 36 degree weather. The greedy owners make more $$, but is this a good thing for the fans??Fast Eddie

  50. JaneB - Mar 1, 2012 at 3:18 PM

    I'm not bothered by the one-game playoff. That already happens, some years, just to identify who got the lone wild card spot. We have a better shot now. And I like thinking about a world in which we aren't playing the best teams 18 times a year, when others don't. SO equalizing the balance of One True League teams an American League teams is a good thing, in my book. I agree that there are fans everywhere. Some of us will pay whatever to go where ever to see our guys play in the playoffs. Some of us think maybe the second wild-card team will have to come HERE to play us. And all of us will be watching from where ever we can, every minute. And this blog better be able to handle 2,000 posts a night by then — because look how much we're going on about this before the first pitch of 2012 has been fired off. That will be in about 27 hours. Not that I am counting. GYFNG!

  51. Sec 3, My Sofa - Mar 1, 2012 at 3:22 PM

    More competition is good. As baseball fans, we want teams–as many as possible–to have to burn their aces just to get *to* a one-game playoff, or have him warming up in the pen in the 12th, "just in case" or for one matchup. Whether this play-in game ultimately counts as making the playoffs, or is considered more like the one-game tiebreakers up to now, it's a chance to win. A puncher's chance, maybe, but a chance. Which is more than the Giants got in '93. [Grumble grumble, but still more ticked about 1982.] Speaking of which–in 1993, the 103-win Giants would have hosted the 94-win Montreal Expos in a one-game playoff under this system, in the two-division structure of that time. As currently aligned, the Braves (104 wins) would have won the East, the Giants would have won the West, and the 97-win Phillies (actual East champs that year) would have hosted the Expos for the right to play the 87-win Central Division Cardinals. Just for perspective.

  52. jcj5y - Mar 1, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    I like the idea of rewarding division winners, but only so long as the schedule is unbalanced. A team plays most of its games against the other teams in its division, comes out with the best record, and gets a bye.Unfortunately, next year the schedule will be balanced. In that context, it makes a lot less sense to me for the division winners to get a reward. Having the best record among a group of mediocre teams doesn't mean much when you've played every team in the National League an equal number of times. That's why I'm hoping this ultimately ends with the elimination of divisions altogether.

  53. sm13 - Mar 1, 2012 at 3:33 PM

    I'm all in on the extra WC team. At home or on the road, having my team in a playoff game is something special. And, Mark, why do you assume the aging Braves are better than us. I'm thinking they'll be chasing fhe Nats, not the other way around

  54. Steve M. - Mar 1, 2012 at 3:35 PM

    Many of you are assuming the Wild Card teams will be burning their Ace in that Wild Card playoff game. It may happen but if the Ace pitched 2 or 3 days before that, it won't happen.The Division winners should pick up a slight to large advantage with the new Wild Card system but keep in mind, historically the Division winners have out-performed the Wild Card teams since that format first started and it had to do with the better team at that point in time has won. We can debate what "better" means as the Cardinals last year did win the World Series.

  55. The_Dash - Mar 1, 2012 at 3:39 PM

    Just a reminder, we are having a legitimate conversation about the Nats and playoffs. How freaking awesome is that?

  56. Sec 3, My Sofa - Mar 1, 2012 at 3:41 PM

    It won't be just the Wild Card Contenders (I'm going to start calling them that for now) who burn their rotation just getting to a one-game playoff. Division races go to the last day or two often enough, and with a considerable advantage to finishing first now, I think managers are more likely to go for the title and take their chances in a multi-game playoff, with an imperfectly setup rotation but some margin for loss, than saving their best for the one game, where anything (cough*bartman*cough) can happen.

  57. Steve M. - Mar 1, 2012 at 3:47 PM

    Anonymous said… No one has mentioned that the play-in game lengthens the season by another couple of days (one game plus a travel day). Since the regular season was extended to 162 games in 1963, we get snowed-out games in late March and World Series games in mid-Oct., played in 36 degree weather. The greedy owners make more $$, but is this a good thing for the fans??Fast Eddie March 01, 2012 10:13 AM I have forseen a day where the World Series will play a new format to really maximize the revenues while neutralizing the weather and creating a pre-determined city to rival the Super Bowl extravaganza that you can't do since you never know which teams will be in the World Series far enough in advance. It would make the baseball All Star celebration look small.My thoughts are you play 2 games at the winner of the All Star game which becomes the home city then a travel day to the visiting teams city for 1 game then they travel to a neutral warm weather city like the Super Bowl where games 4 and possibly 5, 6 and 7 will be played in consecutive days whereby -if- there was a game 7 would be on a Sunday.

  58. Sec 3, My Sofa - Mar 1, 2012 at 3:59 PM

    Steve M, what might drive that is a fan riot, e.g., Griffith on the Senators' last game.

  59. NatinBeantown - Mar 1, 2012 at 4:11 PM

    I would love the switch IF it were accompanied by a return to 4 divisions, which would reduce the risk of a "weak division" and give the 4 division winners a real bye and a real advantage.

  60. Feel Wood - Mar 1, 2012 at 4:40 PM

    Unfortunately, next year the schedule will be balanced.I don't think they have determined yet exactly how the schedule will be put together in 2013 and beyond. All that is known is there will have to be at least one interleague game per day, but as I have pointed out previously that will not increase the number of interleague games over what it is now. They could still have an unbalanced schedule in that framework, or it could be balanced. We likely will not know for sure until the 2013 schedule is released.

  61. JaneB - Mar 1, 2012 at 4:44 PM

    Steve M, I'm with Sec3. If my Nats get in the Serious and play in two parks, not ours, so that OTHER fans get to enjoy our team, there will be hell to pay. I'm not sure what kind, but I know I won't be alone, and there are a lot of creative thinkers out there who can. I'm glad the games go to the home stadiums. There's nothing about that pointy ball sport than belongs in baseball.

  62. NatsNut - Mar 1, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    sm13, the Braves are not aging. They have a bunch of exciting young 'uns too.

  63. Tim - Mar 1, 2012 at 6:41 PM

    Not sure what you mean, Mark, about the #2 Wild Card team not hosting a playoff game. If they win the one-game playoff, they'd move onto the Division Series where they'd be able to host one.I'm for the extra wild card team, but we've had a few one-game playoffs the past few years (SD/SF, Det/Minn). I've got a feeling it won't be long til we have a Game 163 playoff, a Game 164 playoff, and THEN go to the Division Series. It just pushes the World Series too far into cold weather. Very soon we'll have a game cancelled by snow.

  64. Max L - Mar 29, 2012 at 5:01 PM

    Look the Braves have solid pitching as always. However, Heyward will really have to step up this year after his somewhat of a "letdown" in his sophomore season. They definitely have the talent to beat the Phils out for the division, but if they can't get their offense together I could see them finishing as low as 4th. I definitely think the Nats can challenge the Phils this year, but best case scenario IMO this year is 2nd. Watch out for the Fish though in that new park. They'll have a lot of momentum and should draw well at least to start the year. We should be solid in DC if everything goes acc. to plan. Can't wait to get back in Natstown.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 55 43 --
ATLANTA 54 46 2.0
MIAMI 47 52 8.5
NEW YORK 47 53 9.0
PHILADELPHIA 43 57 13.0
Through Tuesday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
WED: Nats at Rockies, 3:10 p.m.
THU: OFF
FRI: Nats at Reds, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Reds, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Reds, 1:10 p.m.
MON: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

Follow us on Twitter