It’s chaos season in Main League Baseball. There are a number of very possible eventualities during which three groups wind up tied for the 2 American League wild-card slots and set off a sequence of occasions during which baseball has 4 win-and-you’re-in video games as an alternative of the standard two. Similar would go for a four-team tie, which can be nonetheless alive.
After which there’s the last word insanity: 5 groups, similar file, a state of affairs that is so wild MLB’s tiebreaker would not even account for it. The possibilities of it taking place are infinitesimal, however so have been these of the Seattle Mariners nonetheless being within the thick of issues, and right here we’re.
Let this function your chaos primer on the assorted eventualities that might play out over the subsequent week. We’ll go from boring to spicy, and assign odds to the assorted eventualities through a simulation from our pals at FiveThirtyEight. Know this: There’s a few 1-in-3 likelihood for an additional recreation Monday, and there is a 1-in-10 shot at a number of video games earlier than the wild card. However earlier than we get to any of that, an introduction to your contestants.
New York Yankees: 90-67
Boston Red Sox: 88-69
Seattle Mariners: 88-70
Toronto Blue Jays: 87-70
Oakland A’s: 85-73
Yankees: 2 at Toronto, 3 vs. Tampa Bay
Crimson Sox: 2 at Baltimore, 3 at Washington
Blue Jays: 2 vs. New York, 3 vs. Baltimore
Mariners: 1 vs. Oakland, 3 vs. Los Angeles Angels
A’s: 1 at Seattle, 3 at Houston
Present state of affairs
Yankees: Coming off a sweep of the Crimson Sox, driving a six-game profitable streak and going through the toughest schedule of all contenders.
Crimson Sox: Flailing after the Yankees rudely interrupted a seven-game profitable streak however heartened by going through two dangerous groups.
Blue Jays: Able to experience the Rogers Centre vibe to their first full-season playoff look since 2016.
Mariners: Consider. They’re nonetheless alive for the West division title (although with Houston’s magic quantity at two, we did not contain them with this train).
A’s: Yeah, this in all probability is not gonna occur.
Buster Olney examines the groups in rivalry for the American League wild card, and breaks down potential tiebreaker eventualities.
Situation 1: Two groups have the 2 finest information with no ties
Boring. The crew with the higher file would host the opposite on Oct. 5 within the AL wild-card recreation. The winner would possible face the Rays, who clinch the highest seed within the league with yet one more win or a Houston loss.
Likelihood it occurs: 45.03%
Situation 2: Two groups tie atop the wild-card standings
Boring 2.0. The perfect head-to-head file hosts the sport. The one tie state of affairs is Boston and Oakland, and since the Crimson Sox are higher in intradivisional video games, they win the tiebreaker.
Likelihood it occurs: 23.57%
Situation 3: Two-team tie for second wild-card slot
This is a bit more enjoyable. The 2 groups would play a Sport 163 on Monday. The winner would journey to the highest wild-card seed for Tuesday’s recreation.
Likelihood it occurs: 20.83%
Situation 4: Three-team tie for 2 wild playing cards
All proper. Now we’re speaking. This can be probably the most sensible mixture of chaos and pleasure. And there are a bunch of various methods to get there.
5 groups can finish the season with 90 wins.
4 groups can finish the season with 91 wins.
4 groups can finish the season with 92 wins.
We’ll tease out the entire permutations, however for now, right here is how a three-teamer among the many East groups would work:
– The crew with the most effective regular-season head-to-head file in opposition to every of the others — on this case, Boston — would get what quantities to the No. 1 choose within the tiebreaker draft.
– It might select to be Membership A, Membership B or Membership C.
– Membership A will get to host the primary tiebreaker recreation in opposition to Membership B. The winner advances to the wild-card recreation.
– The loser goes on the highway to face Membership C the subsequent day. The winner advances to the wild-card recreation to face the primary winner.
The Crimson Sox clearly would select to be Membership A. Two bites on the apple and one dwelling recreation? It is a clear benefit.
As a result of the Blue Jays maintain the regular-season benefit over New York, they might get to decide on between Membership B and C. As straightforward a selection because it theoretically — two possibilities to win is best than one — being Membership B might imply having to play win-and-get-in video games on back-to-back days in Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium. Being Membership C, then again, is an additional day of relaxation, no bullpen questions and soon-to-be AL Cy Younger winner Robbie Ray beginning in entrance of a giant and loud Rogers Centre crowd.
Likelihood it occurs: 5.1%
Situation 4a: Three-team tie for 2 spots with Toronto, New York and Seattle
That is very particular and never that possible. Nevertheless it’s a slight twist on the final one as a result of Seattle beat Toronto of their season collection, Toronto beat New York and New York beat Seattle. As a result of the tiebreaker is mixed file in video games not in opposition to the opposite two groups, the draft order could be Yankees, Mariners, Blue Jays.
Likelihood it occurs: 0.46%
Situation 4b: Three-team tie for second wild-card spot
A sneaky phenomenal consequence that adjustments the calculus on A, B and C.
On this state of affairs, Membership A and B must win two video games simply to get to the wild-card recreation. A and B would face off in a win-or-go-home recreation, and the winner would host C, with the victor there happening the highway to face the highest wild card.
So as an alternative of Membership A being the apparent choose within the draft, Membership C would appear to be the No. 1 selection on this state of affairs: Sure, the crew goes on the highway, nevertheless it has to win solely as soon as and will get an additional day of relaxation. Membership A would a minimum of get some consideration, as a result of if you happen to worth home-field benefit within the pre-wild-card spherical, you’d have it.
Likelihood it occurs: 4.66%
Situation 5: 4-team tie for 2 wild-card spots
This may occur at 89, 90, 91 or 92 wins.
It is type of a milquetoast consequence, in comparison with what will be. The groups would get to decide on whether or not they’re Membership A, B, C or D based mostly on the mixed profitable proportion in opposition to the opposite three groups.
Due to the Yankees-Blue Jays collection, it is not in stone, however at the moment:
AL East + Seattle: Boston, Toronto, New York, Seattle
AL East + Oakland: Toronto, Boston, New York, Oakland
AL West + Toronto/Boston: Seattle, Boston, Toronto, Oakland
AL West + New York/Boston: Seattle, New York, Boston, Oakland
AL West + New York/Toronto: Seattle, Toronto, New York, Oakland
Membership A would host Membership B. Membership C would host Membership D. The winners would play within the wild-card recreation. The winner of that may face the Rays.
Likelihood it occurs: 0.58%
Situation 5a: One crew wins high wild-card spot, 4 groups tie for second spot
Now that is the great things. And it might probably occur at 89 or 90 wins.
On this state of affairs, all 5 groups which can be alive make it. If it occurs, the four-team tiebreaker could be in play. There could be A vs. B and C vs. D. The winners of these video games would then play each other. After which the winner of that recreation would lastly be within the AL wild-card recreation.
So, sure. Earlier than the AL wild-card recreation even occurs, there could be three win-or-go-home video games. And yup: That will make 5 do-or-die video games earlier than the division collection begins. This can be the best state of affairs. Except you are into full insanity. Wherein case …
Likelihood it occurs: .056%
Situation 6: 5-team tie
Lengthy reside chaos! That is such a protracted shot that MLB, which devoted 2,463 phrases to its tiebreaker guidelines, did not even hassle teasing out what a five-team tiebreaker seems like. So it is not likely clear how this might play itself out after the season.
Here is the way it can occur.
The A’s go 5-0 in opposition to Seattle and Houston, the Mariners rally and sweep the Angels, the Blue Jays win 3 of 6 vs. New York and Baltimore, the Crimson Sox win 2 of 6 vs. Baltimore and Washington and the Yankees win 1 of 6 vs. Toronto and Tampa Bay. Everybody wins 90 video games.
That is it.
Yet one more time: That is an excessive lengthy shot. And it might contain lots of good groups taking part in rubbish baseball, so maybe it isn’t the state of affairs value rooting for. But when entropy is your jam, if anarchy is your angel, if bedlam is your raison d’être, then spend tonight rooting for Oakland and Toronto and hissing at New York, Boston and Seattle.
Likelihood it occurs: .001%, or 1 in 100,000