MLB announces 2011 postseason schedule

MLB announces 2011 postseason schedule

CC Sabathia has started 12 games over the last four postseasons -- in 2007 with the Indians, 2008 with the Brewers, and the last two years with the Yankees. He has pitched in November and is happy to hear that no one will pitch that month in 2011.

"I think that's pretty cool -- especially with the weather being the way it is at that time of year," the Yankees' 16-6 ace said on Wednesday at the MLB Fan Cave in New York. "I like it. I think they should do that every year and not let the World Series go into November."

Major League Baseball made it official Wednesday by releasing the 2011 postseason schedule and, while the race goes on to determine eight participants, now at least the dates are set. Playoffs begin with the two American League Division Series openers on Friday, Sept. 30, and the latest game on the calendar, weather permitting, is Oct. 27.

The 107th World Series is scheduled to start on Wednesday, Oct. 19, in a National League setting, thanks to the NL's All-Star victory last month in Phoenix. Last year, the Giants capitalized on that home-field advantage and won it all at Texas in Game 5 on Nov. 1, so a Game 7 could have been on Nov. 4. In 2009, the Yankees beat the Phillies in six with a Nov. 4 clincher -- the latest MLB game.

This season started with six games back on Thursday, March 31, with the final regular season games scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 28. That was the recommendation of the Commissioner's Special Committee for On-Field Matters, to ensure it all ends in October.

"The challenges of our scheduling are considerable, but I shared the committee's desire to make the necessary adjustments to assure that postseason baseball does not extend beyond October," Commissioner Bud Selig said.

This will mark the first time since the 1915 World Series that postseason play will begin on a Friday. Omen alert: the Red Sox beat the Phillies in five games that fall and they have the best two records in baseball right now.

Both National League Division Series begin on Oct. 1. Four games will be played on that Saturday, all in a row, a possibility of baseball from roughly 1-to-1 ET.

Both Game 5s in the AL, if necessary, are scheduled to played on Oct. 6, with both NL Game 5s to be played the following day, Oct. 7.

That scheduling eliminates the additional day off, between Games 1 and 2, in one of the Division Series. Previously, the team that had the best record in its league, with the leagues alternating years, could choose that schedule, with the extra day, and be able to use a three-man rotation on normal rest.

"I think that any way that we can condense the season a bit [is better for the game], I think there's a real issue with weather," said Angels manager and committee member Mike Scioscia. "You can get bad weather in October, but you have that buffer because there's still time ahead of you, and the chance of good weather is much better than if you have a cold spell in the first week of November that you can get things done."

The last regular season to end as early as Sept. 28 was 2003, and the last to end on day other than Sunday was 1990. The schedule would accommodate any possible "play-in" game -- certainly foreseeable in 2011 -- on that Thursday, Sept. 29.

This will mark the fifth year in a row for TBS exclusive coverage of all four Division Series. Those games also will be broadcast on its sister networks if necessary.

The AL Championship Series, once again on FOX, will begin Oct. 8. Game 7, if necessary, will be played Oct. 16. The NLCS, televised on TBS, will begin Oct. 9 with Game 7 to be played Oct. 17, if necessary.

Oct. 21 and Oct. 25 are the scheduled off-days during the World Series.

All World Series games will be broadcast on FOX with ESPN Radio providing live national coverage throughout the postseason.

Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.