MLB released the 2016 postseason schedule on Tuesday, which is good news for Cubs fans looking to plan their vacation time in October. The regular season ends on Sunday, October 2, with the AL Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser (yes, that’s really what it’s called) bowing two days later on TBS.
ESPN will broadcast the Pittsburgh Pirates Memorial NL Wild Card Game on Wednesday, October 5. If current trends hold, this will mark the first time in four seasons that the Pirates have not participated in the sudden-death postseason opener and the first in three seasons that they’ve not been shut out in said contest.
As for the rest of the slate:
Both AL Division Series will begin on Thursday, Oct. 6. The first full slate of Division Series games, featuring two NLDS openers and a pair of ALDS Game 2 contests, will be held on Friday, Oct. 7. Overall, the Division Series are scheduled to run from Oct. 6 through Thursday, Oct. 13, with potential Game 5s on Oct. 12 (ALDS) and Oct. 13 (NLDS). TBS will cover all ALDS games, while FOX, FS1 or MLB Network will handle the NLDS. The AL Championship Series begins on Friday, Oct. 14, and will be telecast by TBS. The NLCS starts on Saturday, Oct. 15, aired on FOX or FS1. A potential Game 7 of the ALCS is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 22, while a Game 7 of the NLCS is set for Sunday, Oct. 23. Game 1 of the best-of-seven World Series — won last year by Kansas City over the Mets — is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 25. The first two games will be played for the fourth year in a row at an AL site, by virtue of that league’s victory in the All-Star Game presented by MasterCard in July. It marks the third year in a row that the Fall Classic opens on a Tuesday, after not having done so since 1990. The World Series shifts to an NL venue on Friday, Oct. 28. If a Game 7 proves necessary, then it would be scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 2, in the AL city. Travel days are scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 27, and Monday, Oct. 31 (if a Game 6 is necessary).
If you’re keeping track, the Cubs would open postseason play on Friday, October 7 against the Wild Card winner. Assuming, that is, they finish with the NL’s best record. If the season ended today, that would mean facing the winner of the Giants and Cards. I actually feel better about the latter matchup, but having either team burn an ace prior to the NLDS is helpful.
POSTSEASON SCHEDULE! POSTSEASON SCHEDULE! POSTSEASON SCHEDULE! POSTSEASON SCHEDULE!
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) August 23, 2016
The NLCS opens eight days later, on Saturday, October 15, and the World Series is set to begin on Tuesday, October 25. The Fall Classic employs a 2-3-2 format and the AL team has home field advantage yet again, which means the NL team will host three games over the weekend of Friday, October 28. At the risk of getting way ahead of myself, I like how this potentially sets up for the Cubs.
Should they navigate the highly erratic randomness of their sport within the understandably small sample afforded by the playoffs, the World Series structure is pretty not bad. Getting a split on the road isn’t too much to expect, nor is winning two of three at home. Then they’d go back on the road needing only one more win. And the Cubs are a better road team (not by much, but a little) than their AL counterparts.
And then you’ve got the atmosphere at Wrigley…okay, gonna stop with anticipatory stuff.