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MLB announces postseason schedule and bubble protocols

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It’ll be a different baseball postseason than any you’ve ever seen.

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Texas Rangers
Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, home of the 2020 World Series
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association came to an agreement Monday night to play this year’s postseason in “bubble” environments in San Diego, Anaheim, Los Angeles, Houston and Arlington, Texas, after first-round games in the home parks of teams with the better records. Before I get to the schedule, Joel Sherman of the New York Post laid out the bubble scenarios on Twitter better than I’ve seen elsewhere, so I’m going to post his entire explanatory sequence of tweets here:

This all sounds like a pretty good plan to keep players healthy while still allowing them to have some family members with them, or nearby. Remember that only two teams will have to quarantine for the entire time from the last week of September through the last week of October, about five weeks’ worth. The other clubs will leave quarantine as they are eliminated from the postseason. It will be strange for players to quarantine at hotels at home during the last week, but this whole season has been strange. It sounds like they’ve put a great deal of thought into these protocols.

Here is the entire postseason schedule, round by round:

The Cubs would wind up being in either the 3/6 or 2/7 wild card series, presuming they do win the NL Central. As you can see, that series would have games on September 30 and October 1 and 2, all at Wrigley Field if the Cubs are the division winner. TBS and ESPN will carry the wild-card series, but a specific schedule has not yet been announced.

Now, on to the division series, which will be played at Globe Life Field and Minute Maid Park (NL series) and Dodger Stadium and Petco Park (AL series). As you can see, this is being done so no team would be playing at its home park:

Since the Cubs, as NL Central winner (presumably!), would be in either the 2/7 or 3/6 series, if they win that wild-card series, they’d play the next round at Houston. The “home” team would be the one with the better regular-season record. Note that all of these series will be played without off days.

It could make a difference in the way teams handle rotations and bullpens, though. With no off days, teams would have to use a four-man rotation instead of the three-man most teams usually use in the Division Series round.

Here’s the LCS schedule:

As is the case for the division series, the LCS round will be played without off days. There’s no travel involved, obviously, and this is an effort to compress the entire schedule. It could make a difference in the way teams handle rotations and bullpens, though. With no off days, teams would have to use a five-man rotation instead of the four-man they usually use in the LCS. Similar to the division series, teams would have to use an extra starter: a five-man rotation instead of the four-man they usually use in the LCS.

Here’s the 2020 World Series schedule:

As opposed to the previous two rounds, there will be two off days during the World Series. You’ll note they have been carefully chosen to avoid NFL broadcasts on Thursday and Monday. The entire thing will wrap up before Halloween.

And wouldn’t it be weird if the Cubs and White Sox wound up meeting in the World Series and none of the games are played in Chicago?