Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The Los Angeles Dodgers have been chasing the San Francisco Giants in the National League West standings for most of the 2021 season and are in danger of having their franchise-record streak of consecutive division titles snapped at eight.
The longtime rivals faced off for a final time from Sept. 3-5, with the Giants winning two of three games at Oracle Park. As a result, they would host a potential Game 163 against the Dodgers, should it be needed to determine an NL West champion.
Furthermore, a postseason battle isn’t out of the question, and at this point may be the most likely scenario.
The NL West champion will face the winner of the Wild Card Game, which as of now is going to be hosted by either the Dodgers or Giants. Assuming L.A. or San Francisco wins the Wild Card, it would set the stage for a first-round clash between two of the top teams in baseball.
Other sports leagues such as the NBA seed their playoffs differently, making a first-round meeting between the two teams with the best records in their respective conference impossible. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts hopes MLB eventually adopts a similar format, via Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times:
“I do like the format of the NBA,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “The two best teams, in the sample of a major league season, should have the best chance of meeting in the postseason, and not just in the first round.”
While most baseball fans dream of the top two teams facing off in the postseason, they probably envision such a matchup happening closer to the end of October, and not at the start of the month.
With both the Dodgers and Giants on pace to win 100-plus games this season, it seems unfair that one of them could be eliminated in the first round of the postseason.
MLB has not offered any hints of potentially changing the current playoff format in the future, but they presumably do want to expand the playing field again beginning with the 2022 season.
Wild Card teams to reach World Series
Depending on how the final two weeks of September plays out, one of the Dodgers or Giants will presumably secure the top spot in the NL Wild Card game.
Since the introduction of the Wild Card in 1995, there have been 13 non-division winners to advance to the World Series, with seven of them going all the way to hoist the Commissioner’s Trophy.
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