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How 2023 balanced schedule could affect playoff races

January 20, 2023 09:56AM
Amongst all the changes you’ll notice on the field in 2023 -- the pitch clock, the positioning ban, the larger bases, the pickoff limits -- there’s another quietly meaningful one that might not be quite so obvious if you weren’t looking for it. For the first time since Interleague Play arrived in the Majors in 1997, the schedule will be balanced. Every team will play the other 29 teams at least once annually and also visit each city at least once every other year.

It’s meant to be fairer for the Wild Card race, and to prevent things like “five fanbases still haven’t ever seen Shohei Ohtani come to town,” as is currently the case. Long-term, it’s clearly going to fulfill those goals. But for 2023, there’s a more interesting question, particularly in the fact that teams will be playing 24 fewer games against their own divisions than they did before, and that question is, "How will this affect the playoff races?"

[www.mlb.com]
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