Major League Baseball will expand its playoffs this season from eight teams to 10 by adding an extra wild-card spot to each league, MLB.com reported Friday.
The expansion was agreed to last year in a collective bargaining deal between Major League Baseball and its players' union, but the parties didn't announce until Friday that the change would start with the 2012 season.
In each league, the playoffs will now consist of the three division winners plus two wild cards, which would be top two teams that didn't win a division. A league's two wild cards will play one post-season game against each other, with the winners advancing to their leagueās Division Series.
Although more teams will make the postseason, wild-card teams now face more of a burden. In recent years, each league's wild-card team went straight to a best-of-five Division Series. Now, wild-card clubs have to spend some of their pitchers on an extra game while the division winners rest, MLB.com points out.
"It used to be if a team had the wild card locked up, they could start setting their rotation for the playoffs," Texas Rangers infielder and designated hitter Michael Young said, according to MLB.com. "Now you have to do everything you can to win the division. You're in - you don't have to play a win-or-go-home game."