How the five-team race within the AL may play out

It’s chaos season in Main League Baseball. There are a number of very possible situations wherein three groups wind up tied for the 2 American League wild-card slots and set off a sequence of occasions wherein baseball has 4 win-and-you’re-in video games as a substitute 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 varied situations that might play out over the following week. We’ll go from boring to spicy, and assign odds to the varied situations through a simulation from our associates at FiveThirtyEight. Know this: There’s a couple of 1-in-Three likelihood for an additional sport 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.

Present standings

New York Yankees: 89-67

Boston Red Sox: 88-68

Toronto Blue Jays: 87-69

Seattle Mariners: 87-70

Oakland A’s: 85-72


Yankees: Three at Toronto, Three vs. Tampa Bay

Pink Sox: Three at Baltimore, Three at Washington

Blue Jays: Three vs. New York, Three vs. Baltimore

Mariners: 2 vs. Oakland, Three vs. Los Angeles Angels

A’s: 2 at Seattle, Three at Houston

Present state of affairs

Yankees: Coming off a sweep of the Pink Sox, using a six-game profitable streak and going through the toughest schedule of all contenders.

Pink 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: Imagine. 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 competition for the American League wild card, and breaks down potential tiebreaker situations.

State of affairs 1: Two groups have the 2 finest information with no ties

Boring. The workforce with the higher file would host the opposite on Oct. 5 within the AL wild-card sport. The winner would possible face the Rays, who clinch the highest seed within the league with yet another win or a Houston loss.

Probability it occurs: 45.03%

State of affairs 2: Two groups tie atop the wild-card standings

Boring 2.0. The very best head-to-head file hosts the sport. The one tie state of affairs is Boston and Oakland, and since the Pink Sox are higher in intradivisional video games, they win the tiebreaker.

Probability it occurs: 23.57%

State of affairs 3: Two-team tie for second wild-card slot

This is a bit more enjoyable. The 2 groups would play a Recreation 163 on Monday. The winner would journey to the highest wild-card seed for Tuesday’s sport.

Probability it occurs: 20.83%

State of affairs 4: Three-team tie for 2 wild playing cards

All proper. Now we’re speaking. This can be probably the most practical 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 all the permutations, however for now, right here is how a three-teamer among the many East groups would work:

– The workforce with the most effective regular-season head-to-head file towards every of the others — on this case, Boston — would get what quantities to the No. 1 choose within the tiebreaker draft.

– It may select to be Membership A, Membership B or Membership C.

– Membership A will get to host the primary tiebreaker sport towards Membership B. The winner advances to the wild-card sport.

– The loser goes on the street to face Membership C the following day. The winner advances to the wild-card sport to face the primary winner.

The Pink Sox clearly would select to be Membership A. Two bites on the apple and one dwelling sport? It is a clear benefit.

As a result of the Blue Jays maintain the regular-season benefit over New York, they’d get to decide on between Membership B and C. As simple a alternative because it theoretically — two probabilities to win is healthier than one — being Membership B may imply having to play win-and-get-in video games on back-to-back days in Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium. Being Membership C, alternatively, 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.

Probability it occurs: 5.1%

State of affairs 4a: Three-team tie for 2 spots with Toronto, New York and Seattle

That is very particular and never that possible. But it surely’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 towards the opposite two groups, the draft order can be Yankees, Mariners, Blue Jays.

Probability it occurs: 0.46%

State of affairs 4b: Three-team tie for second wild-card spot

A sneaky phenomenal end result 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 sport. A and B would face off in a win-or-go-home sport, and the winner would host C, with the victor there occurring the street to face the highest wild card.

So as a substitute of Membership A being the apparent choose within the draft, Membership C would appear to be the No. 1 alternative on this state of affairs: Sure, the workforce goes on the street, but it surely has to win solely as soon as and will get an additional day of relaxation. Membership A would no less than get some consideration, as a result of in case you worth home-field benefit within the pre-wild-card spherical, you’d have it.

Probability it occurs: 4.66%

State of affairs 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 primarily based on the mixed profitable proportion towards the opposite three groups.

Due to the Yankees-Blue Jays collection, it is not in stone, however at present:

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 sport. The winner of that might face the Rays.

Probability it occurs: 0.58%

State of affairs 5a: One workforce wins high wild-card spot, 4 groups tie for second spot

Now that is the great things. And it may possibly occur at 89 or 90 wins.

On this state of affairs, all 5 groups which are alive make it. If it occurs, the four-team tiebreaker can be in play. There can 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 sport would lastly be within the AL wild-card sport.

So, sure. Earlier than the AL wild-card sport even occurs, there can be three win-or-go-home video games. And yup: That might 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. Through which case …

​​Probability it occurs: .056%

State of affairs 6: 5-team tie

Lengthy stay chaos! That is such a protracted shot that MLB, which devoted 2,463 phrases to its tiebreaker guidelines, did not even trouble teasing out what a five-team tiebreaker seems like. So it is not likely clear how this could play itself out after the season.

This is the way it can occur.

The A’s go 5-Zero towards Seattle and Houston, the Mariners rally and sweep the Angels, the Blue Jays win Three of 6 vs. New York and Baltimore, the Pink 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 another time: That is an excessive lengthy shot. And it could contain loads of good groups taking part in rubbish baseball, so maybe it isn’t the state of affairs price 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.

Probability it occurs: .001%, or 1 in 100,000

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