American League Division Series
|Part of a series on the|
|Major League Baseball postseason|
|Wild Card game|
|League Championship Series|
The Division Series was implemented in 1981 as a result of a midseason strike, with the first place teams before the strike taking on the teams in first place after the strike. After 1993, it was implemented for good when Major League Baseball restructured each league into three divisions. In 1981, a split-season format forced the first ever divisional playoff series, in which the New York Yankees won the Eastern Division series over the Milwaukee Brewers (who were in the American League until 1998) in five games while in the Western Division, the Oakland Athletics swept the Kansas City Royals (the only team with an overall losing record to ever make the postseason). The Yankees have currently played in the most division series in history, with eighteen appearances. In 2015 the Toronto Blue Jays and Houston Astros became the last teams to make their first appearance in the ALDS. The Astros had been in the National League until switching to the American League in 2013 and had previously made the NLDS 7 times.
Determining the matchups
From 1998 to 2011, the wild-card team was assigned to play in the division winner with the best winning percentage (outside of their own division) in one series, and the other two division winners met in the other series. However, if the wild-card team and the division winner with the best record were from the same division, the wild-card team played the division winner with the second-best record, and the remaining two division leaders played each other. Beginning with the 2012 season, the wild card team that advances to the Division Series was to face the number 1 seed, regardless of whether or not they are in the same division. The two series winners move on to the best-of-seven ALCS. Home field advantage goes to the team with the better regular season record (or head-to-head record if there is a tie between two or more teams), except for the wild card team, which never receives the home field advantage.
Beginning in 2007, MLB has implemented a new rule to give the team from the league that wins the All-Star Game with the best regular season record a slightly greater advantage. In order to spread out the Division Series games for broadcast purposes, the two ALDS series follow one of two off-day schedules. Starting in 2007, after consulting the MLBPA, MLB has decided to allow the team with the best record in the league that wins the All-Star Game to choose whether to use the seven-day schedule (1-2-off-3-4-off-5) or the eight-day schedule (1-off-2-off-3-4-off-5). The team only gets to choose the schedule; the opponent is still determined by win-loss records.
Initially, the best-of-5 series played in a 2-3 format, with the first two games set at home for the lower seed team and the last three for the higher seed. Since 1998, the series has followed a 2-2-1 format,  where the higher seed team plays at home in Games 1 and 2, the lower seed plays at home in Game 3 and Game 4 (if necessary), and if a Game 5 is needed, the teams return to the higher seed's field. When MLB added a second wild card team in 2012, the Division Series re-adopted the 2-3 format due to scheduling conflicts. It reverted to the 2-2-1 format in 2013.
|4||Boston Red Sox vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim||Red Sox, 3–1||2004, 2007, 2008, 2009|
|4||New York Yankees vs. Minnesota Twins||Yankees, 4–0||2003, 2004, 2009, 2010|
|4||Cleveland Indians vs. Boston Red Sox||Indians, 3–1||1995, 1998, 1999, 2016|
|3||Texas Rangers vs. New York Yankees||Yankees, 3–0||1996, 1998, 1999|
|2||Cleveland Indians vs. New York Yankees||Indians, 2–0||1997, 2007|
|2||New York Yankees vs. Oakland Athletics||Yankees, 2–0||2000, 2001|
|2||New York Yankees vs. Anaheim-LA Angels||Angels, 2–0||2002, 2005|
|2||Texas Rangers vs. Tampa Bay Rays||Rangers, 2–0||2010, 2011|
|2||Oakland Athletics vs. Minnesota Twins||Tied, 1–1||2002, 2006|
|2||Detroit Tigers vs. New York Yankees||Tigers, 2–0||2006, 2011|
|2||Detroit Tigers vs. Oakland Athletics||Tigers, 2–0||2012, 2013|
|2||Texas Rangers vs. Toronto Blue Jays||Blue Jays, 2–0||2015, 2016|
- Team names link to the season in which each team played
|Team||Wins||Losses||Win %||Most recent
|19||New York Yankees||12||7||.632||2012||2012|
|11||Boston Red Sox||6||5||.545||2013||2016|
|7||Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim||3||4||.429||2009||2014|
|4||Tampa Bay Rays||1||3||.250||2008||2013|
|3||Chicago White Sox||1||2||.333||2005||2008|
|3||Kansas City Royals||2||1||.667||2015||2015|
|2||Toronto Blue Jays||2||0||1.000||2016||2016|
- National League Division Series (NLDS)
- MLB division winners
- MLB postseason
- List of American League pennant winners
- List of National League pennant winners
- List of World Series champions
- Nightengale, Bob (2007-09-12). "AL's top team to pick first-round format". USA Today. Retrieved 2007-09-27.
- 1984 NL Championship Series, Baseball-Reference.com
- 1997 AL Division Series, Baseball-Reference.com
- Gillette, Gary; Palmer, Pete, eds. (2006). "October Classics: Postseason Series and Playoffs". The 2006 ESPN Baseball Encyclopedia. New York: Sterling Publishing. p. 1656.