EVER SINCE THE second wild card was added in 2012, baseball followers have been rooting for tiebreaker chaos, with a number of playoff spots nonetheless in want of decision into the ultimate day of the season — or past.
To date, there have solely been three events for tiebreaker video games required since 2012. In 2013, the Rays and Rangers performed for the second wild-card spot within the American League. In 2018, the Brewers performed the Cubs for the Nationwide League Central title, whereas the Dodgers performed the Rockies for the NL West crown, with the losers of these two video games each advancing to the wild-card recreation.
However this yr, we’ve a reasonably good shot at a fourth tiebreaker contest. Getting into the ultimate day of the season, each AL wild playing cards are in play, with the potential for varied tiebreaker eventualities amongst 4 groups. The Giants’ extra-inning loss on Saturday to the Padres mixed with the Dodgers’ victory (Julio Urias received his 20th recreation) retains the NL West title in play as nicely.
Each recreation Sunday begins at 3:05 p.m. or 3:10 p.m. ET, so no staff beneficial properties a bonus figuring out what has occurred in earlier video games (as was be the case beforehand). There’s rather a lot at stake, and it is arduous to maintain monitor, so we’re breaking all of it down: Who’s in with a win, who wants assist and which groups have the very best probability to wreak chaos on the sector.
This is what you’ll want to know.
AMERICAN LEAGUE WILD CARD
OK, here is what can occur:
1. If the Yankees and Purple Sox win, or in the event that they lose and the Blue Jays and Mariners each lose, as nicely, it is Yankees-Purple Sox within the wild-card recreation on Tuesday at Fenway Park. (The Purple Sox received the season sequence 10-9.)
2. If there is a two-team tie for the second wild card, the 2 groups will play a tiebreaker recreation Monday to earn an opportunity in Tuesday’s wild-card recreation. The house staff would be the squad with the higher head-to-head document. Eventualities in play: Yankees at Blue Jays, Mariners at Yankees, Blue Jays at Purple Sox, Mariners at Purple Sox.
3. If three groups find yourself tied for 2 wild-card spots, groups are given A, B and C designations primarily based on mixed head-to-head successful share. Membership A hosts Membership B on Monday, and the winner is one wild-card staff. The loser then travels to Membership C to find out the second wild-card staff (on this state of affairs, the wild-card recreation is pushed again to Wednesday). The staff with the very best share will get first choose on its designation, and so forth. Eventualities in play with order of successful share (presumably, the staff with the primary choose would select the A designation, giving it two possibilities to win one recreation):
4. If there is a three-team tie for the second wild card, groups are given the identical A, B and C designations. Membership A hosts Membership B on Monday and the winner of that recreation hosts Membership C on Tuesday, with the wild-card recreation once more pushed again to Wednesday. Eventualities in play with order of successful share (so the staff with the very best share chooses between successful two video games at house or successful one recreation on the highway):
5. If there is a four-way tie for 2 wild playing cards — that may require the Blue Jays and Mariners to win, and the Yankees and Purple Sox to lose — groups are given A, B, C and D designations. Membership A hosts Membership B and Membership C hosts Membership D, with the 2 winners advancing to the wild-card recreation. FiveThirtyEight provides this an 8% probability of occurring. The order of choice goes Boston, Toronto, New York and Seattle, so Boston and Toronto would play house video games, leaving the Yankees to decide on between enjoying at Boston or at Toronto. How enjoyable would that be?
Listed here are the video games that matter on Sunday:
After successful eight of 9, the Yankees entered the weekend needing only one win to safe a wild card — and proceeded to lose 4-Three on Friday and 12-2 on Saturday as a refrain of boos rained down from the Yankee Stadium crowd. Nonetheless, with a win they’re in, and so they’re assured no less than a tiebreaker recreation on Monday.
“Right here we’re going into Recreation 162, not figuring out what the longer term is,” Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner stated after Saturday’s loss. “It isn’t ultimate. However it’s good figuring out that we nonetheless have an opportunity. The best way the season has gone, it sort of is sensible that it will come all the way down to the final day. Appears about proper.”
The Yankees had initially slated Luis Severino to begin in what would have been a bullpen recreation, however supervisor Aaron Boone introduced Saturday that they might shift again to Taillon, who had aggravated an ankle harm in his earlier begin on Tuesday however threw a profitable bullpen session Friday.
Nonetheless, search for Boone to handle this tilt like a bullpen recreation, with a fast hook on Taillon if he is scuffling. Over his previous seven begins, Taillon has a 6.75 ERA with seven house runs allowed in 28 innings, and the Yankees would like to keep away from having to play on Monday, which suggests beginning Gerrit Cole as an alternative of saving him for the wild-card recreation.
The Rays have already secured the No. 1 seed, which suggests they play the wild-card winner within the division sequence. Actually, the most important benefit they will stay up for is having as many tiebreaker video games as attainable in order that these groups burn by pitchers earlier than attending to the ALDS. With three days of relaxation earlier than Recreation 1 on Thursday, Kevin Money ought to have all his high relievers out there, though he is not going to let any of them run up a pitch depend.
The Purple Sox managed their future earlier than shedding two of three to the Orioles, however they’ve rebounded by taking the primary two video games in opposition to the Nationals. The offense has been in a mini-slump over its previous eight video games (particularly contemplating 5 of these got here in opposition to the O’s and Nationals), hitting .226/.303/.389.
Regardless of the offensive troubles, the Purple Sox can be heavy favorites on this one. Sale, making his ninth begin since coming back from Tommy John surgical procedure, faces the 23-year-old right-hander Adon, who can be making his main league debut. Sale is 5-1 with a 2.90 ERA and has topped out at six innings and 90 pitches to this point, so he won’t go too deep. Adon, in the meantime, spent most of 2021 at Class A Wilmington, the place he had a 4.97 ERA in 17 begins, earlier than making two begins at Double-A and one at Triple-A. He’s the Nationals’ No. 22 prospect, based on MLB.com. “He is one in every of our younger, up-and-coming guys, so I need to see how he does,” Nationals supervisor Dave Martinez stated of Adon. It looks like Martinez is handing the Purple Sox a little bit of a present right here.
In the event that they want him, the Purple Sox have Nathan Eovaldi prepared on full relaxation for a tiebreaker; however just like the Yankees with Cole, Boston clearly hopes Eovaldi’s subsequent begin comes within the wild-card recreation.
The Blue Jays misplaced two of three to a few to the Yankees through the week earlier than beating the Orioles twice to remain alive. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. homered on Saturday — he had gone 13 video games with out one — as a part of a five-homer assault on Baltimore pitching. Guerrero’s 47th house run tied him with Eddie Mathews for many ever by a participant 22 or youthful.
Ryu has allowed 15 runs, together with 5 house runs, over his previous three begins and 8⅓ innings, stretched round a 10-day stint on the injured listing with a neck pressure. With Toronto in a must-win scenario, he’s going to be on a really brief leash — though bullpen depth is hardly the Blue Jays’ power.
If Ryu would not final lengthy, it will likely be fascinating to see how Charlie Montoyo scrambles. Jose Berrios could be the starter out there on three days of relaxation, though you need to have him out there for a tiebreaker recreation on Monday after which Cy Younger winner Robbie Ray on Tuesday. However it’s important to first get to Monday.
Seattle, which entered the weekend tied with Boston for the second wild card, is making an attempt to finish the longest postseason drought (since 2001) in any of the 4 main North American sports activities leagues (MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL). A tricky 2-1 loss on Friday — the M’s had runners on first and third within the seventh with no outs and a leadoff double within the ninth and failed to attain each instances — means they now want some assist to get right into a tiebreaker state of affairs.
Anderson is 2-2 with a 4.50 ERA in 12 begins since coming over in a deadline commerce with the Pittsburgh Pirates, however this can be a traditional five-and-dive begin, even when Anderson is pitching nicely. Mariners relievers Casey Sadler, Paul Sewald and Drew Steckenrider have been the dominant forces within the staff’s 19-9 document for the reason that starting of September, together with an 11-2 mark in Seattle’s previous 13 to get to Sunday. They’ve additionally pitched a number of late after which must pitch once more on Monday and Tuesday if the staff retains successful. Given the Mariners’ lack of offense, that trio has to maintain spinning zeroes. Rookie Logan Gilbert could be on faucet to begin Monday, whereas Tuesday may need to be Marco Gonzales on brief relaxation (The M’s skipped the slumping Yusei Kikuchi final begin.)
NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST
It is becoming that this race comes all the way down to the ultimate day. This one is somewhat simpler: If the Giants lose and the Dodgers win, we get a tiebreaker recreation on Monday at San Francisco. (The Giants received the season sequence 10-9.)
Listed here are the video games that matter on Sunday:
Padres (Reiss Knehr) at Giants (Logan Webb)
The Giants began ace Kevin Gausman on Saturday, and that was completely the correct resolution. Give it some thought this fashion: The Giants may have saved Gausman and tried to win the division with out him, however which staff does he have the very best probability of beating, the Padres or the Dodgers? If San Francisco had topped the Padres, he would have had loads of relaxation to line up for Recreation 1 of the division sequence on Thursday. It simply did not work out. The excellent news for San Francisco followers: The Giants will take the division with a win on Sunday, and so they’ve misplaced two video games in a row simply as soon as for the reason that starting of September.
Webb is 6-Zero with a 2.52 ERA within the second half of the season, so the Giants are nonetheless in good fingers — though the Padres did rating 4 runs off him in 4 innings two begins in the past. The Padres’ employees is working on fumes because the rookie Knehr makes his fifth profession begin. He has a 4.85 ERA and has allowed simply 20 hits in 26 innings, but additionally he has 18 walks.
If the Giants do find yourself in a Monday tiebreaker recreation, it will be Alex Wood‘s flip to begin after which Anthony DeSclafani on common relaxation for a possible wild-card recreation on Wednesday.
Brewers (Brett Anderson) at Dodgers (Walker Buehler)
The Dodgers have been final tied for first place on Sept. Three and have been up by a half-game on Sept. 1, the one two days they have been in first place since April 28. But right here they’re, with an opportunity to win the division in the event that they get to Recreation No. 163. Justin Turner hit an enormous three-run house run off Corbin Burnes within the first inning with two outs to spark Saturday’s win — after which the Dodgers caught a break when Burnes was pulled after two innings in his last tuneup earlier than the postseason.
Buehler had been within the thick of the Cy Younger race till two shaky outings in September — one in opposition to the Giants and one at Coors Subject — however he regarded like his previous self whereas delivering seven scoreless in his most up-to-date begin in opposition to the Padres. The Brewers are locked into the No. 2 seed, however it’s important to suppose they might like to beat the Dodgers and knock them into the wild-card recreation, the place they might face the St. Louis Cardinals within the dreaded coin-flip contest. On condition that Brewers supervisor Craig Counsell did not use any of his high relievers on Friday or Saturday (besides Brent Suter for 4 pitches on Friday), he would possibly need to give some mild work to Josh Hader & Co. out of the bullpen. Or possibly Counsell will simply allow them to relaxation up much more.
The Dodgers would have Max Scherzer lined as much as pitch Monday on 4 days of relaxation or the wild-card recreation on Wednesday. In the event that they lose Monday, Clayton Kershaw’s harm creates a tricky resolution for Dave Roberts. It is both newly minted 20-game winner Urias beginning on three days of relaxation or some mixture of Tony Gonsolin/bullpen recreation.
The presumably would have newly minted 20-game winner Urias begin the wild-card recreation (in the event that they lose on Monday) on 4 days of relaxation or Recreation 1 of the division sequence (in the event that they win). If there is no tiebreaker recreation wanted, Scherzer is about to begin the wild-card recreation.