Just before the 2020 MLB season began, the league and the players' association agreed to expand the playoffs to a field of 16 teams rather than 10.
It should go without saying that this will have a significant impact on the entire outlook of the season, most notably for teams in the Phillies' position.
Under the new format, the top two teams in each division will make the playoffs, along with the two teams in each league with the next-best records. Four NL East teams could make the playoffs, potentially.
Under the previous 10-team playoff format, the Phillies would have been a borderline playoff team capable of making it if the bullpen held up, a few things broke right and they won some key head-to-head matchups.
But now? With more than half of MLB's 30 teams making the playoffs? Anything less than a postseason berth for the 2020 Phillies would be a massive disappointment.
In the National League, the only team clearly ahead of the Phillies is the Dodgers. Teams like the Phillies, Braves, Mets, Nationals, Cubs and Cardinals have similar amounts of talent on their roster and none of those teams is without flaws. In an eight-team field, all of them can make the playoffs, along with one more team from the NL West.
All three games in the first-round playoff series will be played at the higher seed's home park, which adds at least a bit more importance to a regular season that loses meaning with this expanded field.
There is a $50 million pool for players in the postseason, which is why the MLBPA agreed to this. It's a way for the players to recoup money whether or not fans are in the stands, and from a league standpoint, the additional 20 or so playoff games will add substantial revenue via TV rights deals.