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.

3 Comments

This may be implicit in your assessment of the scenarios, but does a potential Game 163 between the Orioles and Yankees count toward those teams’ regular season records? If Baltimore, New York, and Texas/Oakland finish the season with identical records, the winner of a one-game playoff for the AL East will end up having one more win than the AL West champion. If this win “counts”, then the AL East champ would get the top seed by virtue of having a better “regular season” record.

The way you have drawn it up makes me think that a potential Game 163 would not count, but I haven’t been able to find anything online that answers this question with any certainty.

It does count. This is only in reference to two-way ties between two division champions, with no additional ties. I tried to make that clear, sorry if it wasn’t clear. If there is a third team tied with the two division winners, none of this applies.

So, yes, your take is correct. That game counts as a regular season game, if it happens. If there’s a tie in one division, but not the other, then there are no ties left after that game, because two of the teams will have 163 games and the other two will have 162.

-M.

ok so if Rangers loose against A’s and Yankees Baltimore all have same record, and Yanks and O’s have one game playoff. obviousy Rangers play the looser for wild card, but who would host the game

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