Portland, Maine - The Eastern League of Professional Baseball has announced a change to the playoff structure from a full-season format to a split-season schedule in 2019. Under the new rule, the first-place team from each division during both the first and second halves of the season will qualify for postseason play.
The first half of the season ends on June 18th, the 76th day of the regular season and the second half begins the following day on Wednesday, June 19th. The Sea Dogs will be Erie during the change of halves. The final day of the second half is Monday, September 2nd.
Last season, the Sea Dogs finished 63-76 overall and sixth place in the Eastern Division. If the split season format were in place last season, the Sea Dogs would have been in playoff contention in the second half. Below are the 2018-second half standings under the new playoff format.
Trenton 39-32, Portland 37-33, Reading 35-33, New Hampshire 34-34, Hartford 32-36, Binghamton 30-41.
"We are excited to adopt this new rule for the 2019 season," said Sea Dogs President/General Manager Geoff Iacuessa. "This will bring playoff level baseball to both mid-season and end of the season games and will create much excitement for our fans and players."
Postseason berths are awarded to the first-place teams in both the Eastern and Western Divisions during the first and second half of the season.
If a team finishes in first place in both halves, the second playoff spot for that division is awarded to the team from that division that had the best full-season record. The standings for postseason berths will be determined based on won-loss record and not winning percentage.
The first round of the playoffs features the first-half winner from each division. The team that wins the first half will host games three through five during the best-of-five series, and the second half winner will host the first two games. Winners from each opening round series advance to the Eastern League Championship Series, which features a 2-3 format, with the series beginning in the Western Division in the even-numbered years and the Eastern Division in odd-numbered years.
Split Season Guidelines
Split Season Dates
- The last day of the 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.