How Many Games In A Baseball Playoff Series?

How many games are in a baseball playoff series? It depends on the format of the playoffs. The American League and National League use different formats, but both use a best-of-seven game series in the World Series.

How the MLB Playoff System Works

In a typical Major League Baseball season, each of the 30 teams plays 162 games. 162 games spread out over 6 months is a lot of baseball, and at the end of it, usually 10-15 teams are within 5 games of each other for the chance to play in the postseason. The MLB playoff system is designed to award the team that had the best regular season record.

The Regular Season

The Major League Baseball season is 162 games long, which is broken down into a six-month regular season. During this time, each of the 30 teams in the league play every other team in their division 19 times. They also play every team in the opposite league’s division that is within their own divisional alignment 6 or 7 times. The rest of the games are interleague play, which occur between teams of the same league but different divisions.

The Postseason

The Major League Baseball postseason is an elimination tournament held after the conclusion of the MLB regular season. As of 2012, the playoffs for each league—American and National—consist of a one-game wild-card playoff between two wild card teams, followed by a best-of-five divisional series (ALDS and NLDS), and finally a best-of-seven league championship series (ALCS and NLCS). The winner of each league championship series reaches the World Series, the final round of the playoffs. The World Series is a best-of-seven championship series played between the champions of each league, the American League and the National League. The winner of this final series is crowned baseball’s world champion.

How Many Games are in a Playoff Series?

The number of games in a playoff series varies depending on the stage of the playoffs.

Wild Card Series

In 2012, Major League Baseball added a second wild-card team to each league. As a result, the two wild-card teams face each other in a one-game playoff. The winner of that game advances to the divisional round and plays the division winner with the best record. That series is a best-of-five.

Divisional Series

In each Major League Baseball season, five teams from each of the two leagues qualify for the playoffs. The three division winners in each league (the team with the best regular-season record in each division) earn automatic berths into the National League (NL) and American League (AL) Division Series, respectively. The two remaining teams in each league with the best records are awarded thewild card spots.

League Championship Series

The League Championship Series (LCS) is a best-of-seven playoff and one of two round made up of all four division winners and the two wild card teams. The first two games are played at the home stadium of the team with the better regular-season record, and the remaining games are played at the home stadium of the team with the worse regular-season record.

World Series

The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball (MLB). The event is contested between the winner of the American League (AL) and the winner of the National League (NL).

Since 1904, the World Series has been played every year except 1994, when it was cancelled due to the players’ strike. From 1918 to 2019, there have been 112 Fall Classics contested.

The best-of-seven playoff format was inaugurated in 1903. In 1919, Babe Ruth led his Boston Red Sox to victory against the Chicago Cubs in a game that would come to be known as the “Black Sox Scandal”. In 1925, Pittsburgh Pirates rookie sensation Honus Wagner hit .333 with three home runs and seven RBIs to help his team defeat the Washington Senators. Wagner’s performance would set the stage for one of baseball’s most enduring legends.

In 1955, New York Yankees center fielder Mickey Mantle became the youngest player to hit a home run in a World Series game. At age 21, Mantle’s towering blast helped the Yankees defeat Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Don Newcombe. The following year, Mantle would win baseball’s Triple Crown, hitting .353 with 52 home runs and 130 RBIs.

In 1965, Sandy Koufax of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitched a perfect game against the Chicago Cubs in Game 1 of the NL Championship Series. Koufax’s masterful performance helped cement his reputation as one of baseball’s all-time greats.

In 1986, New York Mets catcher Gary Carter hit a walk-off home run in Game 6 of the World Series against the Boston Red Sox to force a seventh and final game. The Mets would go on to win that game, giving them their second world championship in franchise history.

In 2001, Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Randy Johnson won five games in a row during postseason play, including two starts in which he struck out 11 batters en route to being named World Series MVP. Johnson’s five-year run with Arizona was one of the most dominant pitching stretches in MLB history.

In 2003, Florida Marlins shortstop Alex Gonzalez made a leaping catch over Boston Red Sox second baseman Todd Walker to preserve pitcher Josh Beckett’s no-hit bid in Game 5 of the World Series. The Marlins would go on to win that series in six games behind Beckett’s stellar pitching performances. It was Florida’s second world championship in franchise history.

Why the Number of Games Varies

The number of games in a baseball playoff series varies depending on the format of the tournament. The two most common formats are the best-of-five and best-of-seven. The format is determined by the League Championship Series (LCS) and the World Series, which is the final series of the playoffs.

Weather Delays

There is no set number of games in a baseball playoff series due to the possibility of weather delays. If a game is postponed due to weather, it will be rescheduled for a later date. This can extend the length of the series and cause it to go longer than originally planned.

Television Scheduling

The reason the number of games in a baseball playoff series varies is because of television scheduling.

Television networks want to maximize their ratings, so they want the series to go as long as possible. However, they also have to consider things like conflicting programming and start times for games (especially if one team is playing on the west coast and the other is on the east coast).

So, based on all of these factors, the networks will decide how many games they want in each series. The MLB then has to work around that schedule.


In baseball, a playoff series is a best-of-seven games between two teams, which is generally played after the conclusion of the regular season. The two teams that advance to the World Series play a best-of-seven series.

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