Time to change the tired formula for playoffs
July 03, 2018 3:03 AM
by Ramon Scott
Now that LeBron James has agreed to join the Los Angeles Lakers, shifting the competitive balance even more to the NBA’s Western Conference, how long will the NBA and other pro sports leagues wait before moving to a format that would allow the possible best teams record-wise to meet in the league’s championship series?
Is it something even Major League Baseball could consider?
Baseball already has its share of scheduling complexes that would make a change seem unlikely, but it certainly seems unfair to some franchises that are faced with the task of chasing high-payroll teams in short divisions, reducing their chances of making the postseason year-after-year.
The major leagues also play a strange unbalanced schedule thanks to interleague play that not only has teams playing just one other division from the other league every three seasons but also playing their “regional” or competitive rival every year out of MLB’s thinking these matchups are consistently good for the gate.
Seems like a strange formula to decide a true champion, but maybe they consider the lengthy, 162-game schedule as variance.
The majors have continued to tinker with its playoff formula, even allowing the long grind to be decided by just one playoff game for a couple of Wild Card souls, one of which will likely be the rating powerhouses Yankees or Red Sox.
A one-and-done is no way to treat one of your prestigious marquee franchises, but baseball has touted the excitement of the one-game playoff in recent years.
Fans should be treated to the best possible matchup in the championship, but sports leagues fear the disastrous regional matchup, or even worse, a pair of small markets in the finals.
RED SOX (-115, 7.5o20) at NATS (Wed., 8:05): Early holiday start for Nats, going up against LH Eduardo Rodriguez, which is not their strong suit, down nearly 15 units against southpaws into the week. Rookie Erick Fedde is 0-3 at home, but his coming off his first career win last Friday getting money as a small ‘dog at Nick Pivetta and the Phils. BOS, 4-3
ORIOLES (+200, 7.5) at PHILS (Wed., 1:05): The Phillies’ Aaron Nola, who has a 7-0 record with a 1.77 ERA at home (+8 units), will be a featured holiday attraction at Citizens Bank today, expected to dominate the lowly O’s. Baltimore’s David Hess has allowed 21 runs over his last four starts and is down 4.25 units this season with an ERA close to six. PHL, 5-2
WHITE SOX (+120, 10o15) at REDS (Wed., 4:10): Reds are 8-9 in Sal Romano’s starts despite his 4-8 overall record and 5.30 ERA. He is coming off a decent start in a loss at home as a slight ‘dog to Milwaukee at Chase Anderson last Friday. Dylan Covey takes the mound in Cincy with a 6.85 ERA on the road but is still up nearly 2.5 units overall this season. CIN, 6-4
CARDS (+112, 7.5) at D’BACKS (Wed., 7:10): St. Louis is down six units against LH starters, as they will face Arizona southpaw Patrick Corbin, who has had a few rough outings of late but still has a 3.14 ERA and 0.98 WHIP. The Cards’ Miles Mikolas has been great at 8-3 and a 2.61 ERA (0.99 WHIP) and Cards are 5-0 in his road starts. ARI, 4-3
RANGERS (+115, 8.5) at DET TIGERS (Thu., 4:05): Tigers stopped 11-game skid on Sunday with 9-1 win at Toronto to snap spiral. Here, Detroit lefty Matthew Boyd is 3-1 with a 2.61 ERA at home and is up 7.2 units there as Tigers are 6-1 in those starts. New Ranger Yovani Gallardo makes just his fourth start, all Texas wins, and is 2-0 despite an ERA over six. DET, 5-3
YANKEES (-125, 9) at BLUE JAYS (Fri., 4:07): Sonny Gray has been better on the road than at the Stadium this year, like Saturday’s loss to Boston, but is still down nearly six units overall. Sam Gaviglio hasn’t picked up a win in over a month, but he has a 1.95 ERA at home and Jays won his start at -180 on Saturday at home against the Tigers’ Boyd. NYY, 5-4
ROCKIES (+125, 8o20) at MARINERS (Fri., 7:10): Felix Hernandez may not be the same pitcher he was in his prime, but he continues to be very competitive, especially at home, where he has a 3.81 ERA after beating KC as a two-dollar favorite last Saturday. Colorado’s German Marquez got plenty of attention after his dominating win with 9 Ks at L.A. at +160. SEA, 5-3
ATHLETICS (+120, 9.5) at INDIANS (Sat., 1:10): Oakland’s Edwin Jackson, now with his 13th ML team, gets his third start after two very nice performances, including beating this Cleveland team as a short ‘dog at home on Saturday. Tribe’s Mike Clevenger is down nearly 4.5 units this season after their win at Oakland on Sunday and boasts a 3.11 ERA. CLE, 6-5
BRAVES (-106, 8.5u20) at BREWERS (Sun., 11:10): Brewers are down over seven units in day games. Brewers’ Junior Guerra, with a 2.94 ERA at home entering the week, comes off a home start on Tuesday against the Twins. Braves lefty Sean Newcomb is 5-1 with a 2.49 ERA on the road before his Tuesday start at the Yankees. MIL, 5-4
DODGERS (-112, 7.5u15) at ANGELS (Sun., 5:05): The Angels’ Andrew Heaney, who has a 2.18 ERA at home this season is coming off a road start at Seattle on Tuesday. The Dodgers’ Alex Wood is coming off a home start against Pittsburgh on Monday after winning his previous three starts, allowing just three walks over 18.2 innings. LAA, 4-3