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MLB | Wild-Card Sunday

What’s more exciting than #OctoberBall you ask? How about an AL Wild-Card race that goes down to the wire as four teams battle it out for post season action. Buckle up, because we’ve got one hell of a memorable Sunday coming baseball fans!

The Easy Outcome

With the Yankees losing on Saturday (a 12-2 beat down at the hands of the Rays) the Red Sox are in the driver’s seat at this point. If the BoSox beat Washington on Sunday, they’ll host the wild-card game at Fenway Park. If both Boston and New York win on Sunday, it’ll be the Red Sox vs Yankees at Fenway (Boston owns the tiebreaker).

The Complicated Outcomes

Worst case scenario, the Red Sox and Yankees are guaranteed to play Monday. Because Boston won on Saturday, both the Blue Jays and the Mariners need some help to keep their hopes alive. Toronto needs to beat the Orioles, Seattle needs to beat the Angels, and one or both the Yankees and Red Sox have to lose their games on Sunday.

What’s so complicated? Well, here are the four other possible outcomes.

Scenario 1 | Quad Tiebreak

Tampa Bay def New York
Washington def Boston
Toronto def Baltimore
Seattle def LA Angels

This means all 4 teams end up with a 91-71 record (whaaaaat!?) Which means, there will be two tiebreaker games on Monday and the winners in each game would square off on Tuesday in the wild-card game.

Each team will choose a designation as Club A, B, C, or D. The Sox get first choice, since they have the highest winning percentage in games between these clubs; the Jays are second, Yankees third, and finally Seattle. Club A (presumably Boston) – will host Club B in one tiebreaker, while Club C hosts Club D in the other. So, if the Red Sox choose to be Club A and the Blue Jays are Club C, the Yankees would get to decide if they travel to Boston or Toronto. Seattle, as Club D, gets no say where it goes. Still with me?

Scenario 2 | Three-way Tiebreak for One Spot

Tampa Bay def New York
Washington def Boston
Toronto def Baltimore
LA Angels def Seattle

This means a 3-way tie between Boston, New York, and Toronto and Seattle’s done. So this then means, Club A would host Club B in the first tiebreaker Monday, with the winner of that game advancing to the wild-card game (now pushed back to Wednesday). The loser of A vs B is still alive and visits Club C on Tuesday to determine the second wild card. Stay focused here.

Unlike Scenario 1, Clubs A, B, and C will be determined by head-to-head record. In this case, Boston – having won the season series against both Toronto and New York – get designated as Club A and can decide if they want two chances to advance as Club A or play one home game as Club C on Tuesday.

Scenario 3 | Three-way Tiebreak for Second Spot

New York def Tampa Bay
Washington def Boston
Toronto def Baltimore
Seattle def LA Angels

If either the Yankees or Red Sox win but the second wild-card spot is still up for grabs, two tiebreakers will still be necessary. The tiebreaker schedule would be the same as in Scenario 2, as would the procedure of determining Clubs A, B, and C.

A Red Sox-Blue Jays-Mariners tie here would see Boston choose its designation first, again based on head-to-head records, followed by Seattle, and then Toronto.

Scenario 4 | Two-way Tiebreak for Second Wild-Card Spot

Tampa Bay def New York
Boston def Washington
Baltimore def Toronto

Seattle def LA Angels

This scenario is pretty straight forward if it happens. Game 163 will be played somewhere Monday, with the winner off to either Boston or New York. If the Red Sox are in this game, they’ll host either the Blue Jays or Mariners after winning both of those season series. A Blue Jays-Yankees tiebreaker would be at Rogers Centre, while Yankees-Mariners would go down in the Bronx.

Obviously, if the Blue Jays and Mariners were to both lose, they’re done. But they’re also done if both the Yankees and Red Sox win. You can bank on Canada and the Pacific Northwest to be rooting hard for the Rays and Nationals on Sunday afternoon. It all goes down at 3pm ET.

What About the NL West?

LA Dodgers def Milwaukee
San Diego def San Francisco

There’s one other potential tiebreaker scenario here. If the Dodgers win and the Giants lose, we’ll get a Game 163 between the rivals on Monday in San Francisco. The winner would get the division title; the loser would host the St. Louis Cardinals in Wednesday’s NL wild-card game.

Game Preview: Dodgers Vs. Giants

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