The look and feel of regular-season baseball has changed significantly over the past several years.
Games are markedly shorter, thanks to the advent of the pitch clock. Multi-extra-inning marathons have become an endangered species as the pandemic-era “ghost runner“ has stuck around for the long haul. Other subtle tweaks have created a sport that looks different from baseball in 2013 or even ’18.
However, some changes don’t carry over into the postseason. Here’s a question-and-answer primer on which rules and regulations you need to be aware of ahead of 2023’s road to the World Series:
Will the “ghost runner“ be used in the playoffs?
No. The stipulation that every extra inning will begin with a runner on second base is now permanent, as ESPN reported in February, but only for regular-season games.
Will the pitch clock be used in the playoffs?
Yes, as a league official told Sports Illustrated earlier this month. Furthermore, the clock will not be altered from its regular-season length, which is 15 seconds to throw the ball with the bases empty and 20 with runners on base.
How many challenges will be permitted in the playoffs?
Two, one more than in the regular season; this stipulation has been in place since 2015.
How large will rosters be in the playoffs?
26, one more than the 25 allowed before the COVID-19 pandemic. That's a two-man reduction from the 28 players teams are required to carry from Sept. 1 through the end of the regular season, but equal to the 26 players teams may carry from the start of the season through Aug. 31.
Will the three-batter minimum be in effect for the playoffs?
Yes. As in the regular season, pitchers must pitch to at least three batters or to the end of a half-inning, "with exceptions for injuries and illnesses."
How long are the Wild Card series?
They are best-of-three, with the higher seed serving as the home team for the entire series. The LDS, LCS and World Series remain best-of-five, best-of-seven and best-of-seven, respectively, as they have since 1995.
Are teams reseeded after the Wild Card series?
Will shifts still be outlawed in the playoffs?
Will pitcher disengagements (i.e. pickoff attempts) still be limited in the playoffs?
Yes, pitchers cannot disengage from the mound (i.e. attempt to pick a runner off, feign attempting to pick a runner off, etc.) more than twice in a particular plate appearance.