CLEARWATER, Fla. -- In a way, baseball's new expanded playoffs are set up to benefit a team like the Phillies, who have won their division five straight years but twice were beaten by a wild-card team in the first round.
But if the playoffs are changing, as it's now expected that they are, Shane Victorino wants more.
"Why not make all three series seven games?" Victorino said Wednesday. "That's what I'd like."
Victorino's Phillies lost a best-of-5 first-round series to the wild-card Cardinals last October, after leading the major leagues in the regular season with 102 wins. The Phillies lost to the wild-card Rockies in the first round in 2007.
One big benefit from the new system is that it will reward division winners, and particularly the team with the best record in each league. It will make it harder, although certainly not impossible, for a wild-card team to advance to the World Series.
That should make the regular season more meaningful.
It also guarantees baseball a pair of knockout games to begin the postseason.
"I think it's great for baseball to have that extra game," Victorino said.
The team that survives the one-game wild-card playoff will face the team with the league's best record, after already burning through its best available pitching and also having to travel.
Of course, the Phillies had a chance to set up their pitching going into the first round last year, and the Cardinals, who didn't clinch the wild card until the final moments of the season, did not. And the Phillies still lost.
Would they have lost if the series had been best-of-7?
There's no way to know that, and we do know that a best-of-7 first round isn't happening right now. A second wild card team is happening, and it's extremely likely that it happens this year.