Wild rules could alter playoff games

Updated: September 18, 2012, 12:01 PM ET
By Buster Olney

Some of the San Francisco Giants spoke recently about how they view the Atlanta Braves as a really dangerous postseason team because of their dominant bullpen pieces and the power in their lineup. It's possible that the Braves will finish this season with the second-best record in the National League, a reflection of how well they've performed.

But it's also possible that their postseason will last exactly one game. If the Braves finish as the No. 1 wild-card seed -- and right now, that appears likely -- then they'll have to win the wild-card game against the St. Louis Cardinals or Los Angeles Dodgers or one of the other five teams vying for the last NL playoff spot. "When it's just one game, the worst team in baseball can knock out the best team," a GM mused last week. "Anything is possible."

The wild-card games will be conducted under circumstances we've never seen before in the postseason. The participating teams will set 25-man rosters for this one-game, winner-take-all extravaganza -- rosters that don't have to carry over to the division series matchup.