As of Sunday night, the Palm Beach Cardinals officially won their division for the second half and are headed to the playoffs. With just two divisions and two separate halves, however, the Florida State League’s playoff structure is a little bit unusual, so let’s take a look at the road ahead if the Cardinals hope to be the Florida State League Champions.
The high-A league playoffs consist of two rounds, a three-game Division Championship series and a five-game League Championship series. The winner of each division for each half gets a spot in the Division Championship, and then the winners face off in the League Championship.
The first half division winners determine home field advantage for the Division Championship, either choosing to play at home for the first game or the final two games. Home field advantage for the League Championship alternates each year, and this year it goes to the South Division.
This year, in the South Division, the Charlotte Stone Crabs won the first half and the Palm Beach Cardinals won the second, so they’ll face off beginning Tuesday. The Stone Crabs elected to have home field advantage for the final two games, so the series will begin at Roger Dean Stadium, giving the Cardinals a slight edge to begin the series.
Meanwhile, in the North Division, the situation is a bit more complex. The Clearwater Threshers won both halves, meaning that the second spot went to the team with next best combined record, in this case the Daytona Tortugas. Just like the Stone Crabs, the Threshers elected to play the final two games of the series at home.
To recap, the Palm Beach Cardinals first have to take on the Charlotte Stone Crabs in the Division Championship Series in order to advance to the League Championship Series and either the Clearwater Threshers or Daytona Tortugas.
Hopefully this explanation helps with understanding the Florida State League’s playoff structure, which can be a little bit confusing. We’ll be covering Palm Beach’s playoff run right here at The Cardinal Nation, so be sure to check back to see how the Cardinals are faring.
Follow Chris Greene on Twitter @PBCBeat.
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