PORTLAND, MAINE - The Eastern League of Professional Baseball has announced the league will be changing their playoff format from a full season format to a split season format. Under the new format the first place team from each division during both the first and second halves of the season will qualify for the postseason. This change will go into effect immediately, starting with the 2019 season.
The first half of the season will end on the 76th day of the regular season and the second half of the season will begin on the 77th day of the regular season. For the 2019 season, the final day of the first half of the season will be on Tuesday, June 18th, with the second half of the season kicking off on Wednesday, June 19th. The second half of the season will conclude on Monday, September 2nd, the final day of the regular season.
Postseason berths will be awarded to the first place teams in both the Eastern Division and the Western Division during the first half and second half of the season. In the event the same team finishes in first place in their division in both halves of the season, the second playoff spot for that division would be awarded to the team from that division that had the best full season record. The standings for postseason berths will be determined using the won-loss record (games behind column), with winning percentage having no impact on the standings.
The first round of the postseason will feature the first half winner from each division facing the second half winner from their respective division. The team that finishes in first place in the first half will host games three through five of the best-of-five opening round series. The second half winner will host games one and two of the opening round series. Winners from each opening round series will advance to the Eastern League Championship Series, which will feature a 2-3 format, with the series beginning in the Western Division in even numbered years and the Eastern Division in odd numbered years.
Split Season Guidelines
Split Season Dates
- The last day of first half of the season will be the 76th day of the season
- For 2019 the end of the first half will be Tuesday, June 18th
- The first day of the second half of the season will be the 77th day of the season
- For 2019 the start of the second half will be Wednesday, June 19th
- First Half Division Winner - Host games 3-5 of the first round series
- In 2019 dates are Friday, September 6th thru Sunday, September 8th
- Second Half Division Winner - Host games 1-2 of the first round series
- In 2019 dates are Wednesday, September 4th and Thursday, September 5th
- In the event the same team finishes in first place in their division in both the first half and second half, the second playoff spot for that division will go to the team from that division that has the best full season record against all opponents.
- Playoff spots will be determined using won-loss record (Games Behind Column), not winning percentage.
- In the event of a tie for a playoff berth the following tiebreakers will be used to determine the team that qualifies for the playoffs:
- Head to head record between the tied teams during the current half season
- Runs scored between the tied teams during the current half season
- Intra-division record during the current half season
- Run differential against all opponents during the current half season
- Coin Flip
- In the event of a tie between three or more teams for first place the same tiebreakers would be applied using the aggregate record of one individual team versus the other tied teams
Postponed and Suspended Games
- Postponed Games: Any game that is postponed prior to the first pitch being thrown will apply to the record of the clubs involved for the half during which the game is played.
- Example: If a game is postponed in April and made up in August, that game would apply to the second half record for both clubs.
- Suspended Games: If a game is suspended, the results of the game will apply to the record of the clubs involved during the half in which the game was started. In the event a suspended game is started in the first half of the season and completed during the second half, the game results of the game will apply to the first half record of the team, however it will not apply towards the postseason standings for the first half.
- Exception: An exception to this rule would be if a game is suspended on the final day of the first half of the season and the completion of the game will take place prior to either team playing any additional games. In this instance the results of the game would still apply to the first half playoff standings.
The 2019 season for the Altoona Curve, Double-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates, opens on Thursday, April 4 in Akron with the home opener slated for April 11 at Peoples Natural Gas Field. Individual game tickets go on sale on Saturday, March 2 exclusively in person at the ballpark at Curve Fest, beginning at 10 a.m. Online ticket sales at AltoonaCurve.com/Tickets will begin at 2 p.m. on Saturday. For more information, visit AltoonaCurve.com, call 877.99.CURVE or stop by the PNG Field offices.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.