MLB Postseason gets underway

Image Courtesy of USA Today

Image Courtesy of USA Today

Maddie Lindsay, Staff Writer

As the MLB playoffs begin to take place, anxieties are rising in regard to more than just competition for coaches, as players health continues to be a concern with the demands of a peculiar postseason. Since the MLB’s announcement in July of the pandemic-revised playoffs, it has been clear that the increase from 5 to 8 teams competing within each division would increase the number of games needed to be played over a shorter period of time. The threat of an autumnal rise in COVID cases aside, this postseason schedule posed another health risk for players as recovery time is significantly reduced, something to consider when a place in the World Series is on the line.

After the first round alone, the best-of-three wild card series will develop into a crammed Division Series that could push teams to play a maximum of 5 games over 5 days. If a prolonged Division Series does occur, it would allow for a mere one-day turnaround before the Conference Series, the latter consisting of a potential 7 games in 7 days before the World Series alone.

It’s clear that this expedited schedule will test the physical demands of the athletes, but also the overall decision-making of coaches and managers, especially in the matter of pitchers. “Typically, three (days in a row) is where we draw the line, the industry standard of pushing a guy,” said New York Yankees pitching coach Matt Blake. Coaches already wrestle with maintaining the balance of a single victory and the long-term health of a pitcher, but they will face more pressure in this decision as the window for recovery is cinched tighter than ever before.

“We’re going to see something like we’ve never seen without the off days,” Tampa Bay Ray manager Kevin Cash told USA Today. “We have to gauge how they feel. The best way for us to make a decision about those guys is getting their honest feedback when we ask the question.” It seems that this principle of honesty is what will see teams through what is expected to be a strenuous playoff showdown. That, of course and a solid string of relievers.