AL seeding and tiebreaks
Under the new playoff system, more ties are broken by actually playing an extra game than in past years. This has led to all sorts of entertaining potential scenarios being constructed, though it’s now looking exceedingly unlikely that any of them will actually play out this year.
But there are still some tiebreakers that are broken without playing an extra game. If the two Wild Card teams finish with the same record, then obviously they don’t play a game to determine where they’ll play their next game. And a tie between two division champions, when there’s not also a concurrent tie between those teams and a Wild Card team or a team not otherwise in the playoffs, is also broken without playing an extra game.
Such a scenario is at least possible, if not quite likely, in the American League. The Rangers, A’s, Yankees and Orioles are all separated by a grand total of one game, so it seems like there’s a pretty good chance that the AL West champ and AL East champ will have the same record. In that case, a tiebreaker would apply in order to determine two things: which team plays the Wild Card winner and which plays the AL Central champ, and which team would have home-field advantage over the other in a potential ALCS matchup.
So, here they are. If this has already been broken down somewhere else, I apologize, but I haven’t seen it. There’s a pretty healthy amount of baseball coverage out there right now.
The first tiebreak, as you would probably expect, is head-to-head record. This is sufficient in three of the four matchups.
Yankees-Rangers tie: Yankees would play Wild Card and would have ALCS home field, due to 4-3 head-to-head record vs TEX
Orioles-Rangers tie: Rangers would play Wild Card and would have ALCS home field, due to 5-2 head-to-head record vs BAL
Orioles-A’s tie: A’s would play Wild Card and would have ALCS home field, due to 5-4 head-to-head record vs BAL
That leaves one other possibility:
Yankees-A’s tie: A’s would play Wild Card and would have ALCS home field, due to SECOND tiebreaker, which is record within own division. Head-to-head record was 5-5.
-M, with Patterson Hood’s amazing new record playing in the earphones right now. Go get it, it’s that good.