A Tale of Two Halves

After the opening series against Lancaster and amid the Manny Ramirez fiasco in Inland Empire, we are now underway in the second half of the season.  During the first-half of the season, we were 30-40, and finished fourth place in the southern division.  High Desert won the division and clinched the first of three divisional playoff spots, with the two remaining spots up for grabs in the second half.

The two-half playoff system is used in the Minor Leagues until the Triple-A level, where it is the traditional full-season divisional and wild card winners that make the postseason.  The two-half systems grants the divisional winner of each half a playoff spot, with the best overall record for both halves of the remaining three teams getting the wild card spot.  In the event that one team wins both halves, the second place team for the second half would get the spot reserved for the second half winner.

This playoff system is a fair system, and gives teams the opportunity to “right the ship” if they suffered a dismal first-half of the season.  The rewards presented by this system are twofold.  First, teams that may have suffered from the challenge of dealing with very fluid rosters have a fresh chance during the second-half to make a playoff push.  Second, the wild card entrant rewards the team that was not able to win a half, but played consistently well enough throughout the entire season to make the playoffs.

The quirk this system presents in the 10-team California League is that six teams qualify for the playoffs, an odd number for playoff matchups.  To combat this issue, the first-half winner is given a “bye” in the first round, with the other two teams squaring off to play them in the divisional championship series.

Despite our first-half struggles, we are still in a position with three other teams to get one of the two playoff spots up for grabs this half.  With better consistency and improved effort, we can get back to an even keel and make our playoff run.

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