Three-Way Wild Card Tiebreaker Scenario

With the close wild-card battle going on between the Cleveland Indians, Tampa Bay Rays, and Texas Rangers heading down the stretch, an interesting scenario is emerging as a very real possibility. Tampa Bay and Texas finished their season series earlier this week. With that, should all three teams have identical records after Game #162, the following tiebreaker scenario between the Rays, Indians, and Rangers has solidified.

The first tiebreaker to determine how to proceed is head-to-head record between the three teams. Here are those results.

Cleveland has a 7-5 record (5-1 v. TEX, 2-4 v. TB)
Tampa Bay has a 7-6 record (4-2 v. CLE, 3-4 v. TEX)
Texas has a 5-8 record, (4-3 v. TB, 1-5 v. CLE)

As a result of having the highest winning percentage, Cleveland becomes “Team A”. They would host a wild card play-in game against Team B, Tampa Bay.

The winner of this game would become Wild Card #1 and host the AL Wild Card game on Wednesday, October 2nd. The loser would travel to Texas and play on Tuesday, October 1st. The winner of that game would become Wild Card #2 and travel to either Cleveland or Tampa the next day. The loser would go home.

The Indians currently lead Texas for the second wild card by 1.5 games and trail Tampa Bay for the first wild card spot by one-half game. Cleveland would lose a tiebreaker for hosting rights with Tampa and travel south for the wild card game. In turn, they would win a tiebreaker with Texas for hosting rights.

Cleveland is off today, while Tampa finishes its series with Baltimore and Texas opens a series with the Astros.

  • FearTheRoo

    Still think the Tribe needs to win out to make the playoffs. Then we don’t have to worry about a tiebreaker and will face Tampa at Tropicana.

  • JNeids

    So if this scenario were to happen, we would have to play either 2 or 3 games to make it to the ALDS as opposed to just 1 Wild Card game if there is no tie…meaning we would have to throw our top 2 or 3 pitchers before the ALDS even started.

  • mgbode

    love that we have a cushion (even if it’s tiny) now. just a week away from October baseball!!!

  • TSR3000

    If we win out we are hosting the WC game. No question.



  • gues

    This isn’t quite right. The three teams are RANKED by winning % in those games, so CLE would be A, TB would be B, and TX = C

    So if all the teams tied, Cleveland would host TB (winner = WC1), and then the loser of that game would travel to TX for the second game (winner = WC2, loser = no playoffs).

  • Natedawg86

    unless TB wins out too

  • I thought that originally as well, but the teams are only ranked that way to determine Team A. After that, it’s a head to head tiebreaker between the other two.

  • Brendan

    I’m confused.. So Cleveland would have to win two play-in games to get to WC in this scenario, but TB only has to play one?

  • Brendan

    This makes more sense.

  • mgbode

    no. teamA (Indians) and teamB(TB?) would have 2 shots at winning 1 game to get to the WC game (against each other, then against teamC). teamC would only have 1 chance to win a game and get into the WC game.

    at that point(WC game), winner advances to ALDS.

  • guest

    No. In the event of a three-way tie between CLE, TB, and TX for two wild card spots, the following would occur:

    9/30: TB @ CLE. Winner is in playoffs as Wild Card #1 (homefield). Loser goes to play next day.
    10/1: Loser of TB/CLE @ TX: Winner is in playoffs as Wild Card #2 (not homefield). Loser does not make the playoffs.

    That’s why it’s so huge that CLE is the A designation team. The A designation team has TWO chances to make the playoffs — and get the first game as a home game. The B designation team (TB here) also gets two chances to make the playoffs, but both are road games. The C designation team (TX here) gets only ONE chance to make the playoffs, but it is a home game.

    Basically, if it comes down to a three-way tie, the Indians have BY FAR the best outcome possible.