In theory, the AL East should be the kings of the MLB postseason. It is arguably the most difficult division in baseball. The Yankees and Red Sox typically land amongst the highest payrolls in the majors. The Rays contend every year with a payroll that can be found under couch cushions. Add in the resurgent Orioles and a consistently solid Blue Jays squad, and the AL East should be one of the tougher challenges in the postseason.
That is not the case in the current playoff format. The AL East has not exactly made much noise in the Wild Card round, failing to win a single game since the field expanded. Losses by the Blue Jays and Rays on Wednesday put the division to 0-8 in the Wild Card round under the new format.
AL East a paper tiger in MLB postseason
The new format does make advancing a bit more difficult. Teams have to win a best of three series in order to get to the ALDS. The sixth seed has to face a division winner in order to advance. And thus far, the division has not had any luck with getting to the next round.
The Rays and Blue Jays did not put up much of a fight this year, scoring a combined two runs in their four games. The Rays only scored one run as they were swept in the Wild Card round last year as well. At least the Blue Jays offense showed up in one of those games as they scored nine runs in Game Two that year. They still lost to the Mariners, but the bats showed up once. Once.
Maybe that lack of success will change with different teams. The Rays and Blue Jays may well be built more for the regular season than the playoffs. And they have certainly had plenty of success in those 162 games. However, the playoffs are a different animal. It is one that the Rays and Blue Jays have not been able to tame.
The AL East has not fared well in the Wild Card round since the MLB playoffs changed. They are 0-8 over the past two years.