AL Wild Card Race 2013: Breaking Down Tiebreakers and Scenarios in Heated Chase
They don’t call it the wild card for nothing.
This year’s American League Wild Card race has three teams left fighting for two spots in the Wild Card Game. The Cleveland Indians and Tampa Bay Rays currently sit one game above the Texas Rangers, but anything can happen in the closing days of the season.
These three teams’ immediate futures are linked together. Depending on what the others do, each team’s outlook can change in an instant. We’ll look at all of those possibilities below.
But first, here’s a look at the standings and the remaining games for each team:
|Team||Win||Loss||Current Game||Next Game|
|Cleveland||91||70||Won 5-1 over Minnesota||Sun. at Minn|
|Tampa Bay||90||71||Lost 2-7 to Toronto||Sun. at Toronto|
|Texas||90||71||Won 7-4 over LAA||Sun. vs. LAA|
Three-Game Playoff Sequence
The breakdown of possibilities is complex, but it's easy to understand when simplifying it. Basically, if there is a three-game tie between the teams, a series of games will be played to determine which clubs earn the right to then play in the one-game playoff.
Here’s a look at the head-to-head and overall records between the three teams in 2013:
|Head-to-Head Records||Combined Records|
|TB won season series against CLE, 4-2||CLE: 7-5|
|TEX won season series against TB, 4-3||TB: 7-6|
|CLE won season series against TEX, 5-1||TEX: 5-8|
Keep in mind, if the Indians and Rays both win out, they will meet in St. Petersburg for the AL Wild Card Game. If both lose and Texas wins out, this sequence will be put into effect.
The Indians chose the designation of Club A since they had the best overall record between the three teams. Tampa Bay chose to be Club B and the Rangers will be Club C.
These designations determine how the playoff games before the playoff game will shake out in the event of a three-way tie. As Club A, the Tribe would host Tampa Bay on Monday, with the winner advancing to play in the AL Wild Card Game on Wednesday.
The loser would get another shot by traveling to Texas to take on the Rangers to determine the second team in Wednesday’s matchup.
Needless to say, avoiding any extra games after a 162-game season is ideal. All the Rays and Indians have to do is keep winning this weekend and they’ll meet Wednesday in the playoffs.
For Texas, its fate is out its hands. Even if the Rangers win out, they could end up missing the postseason altogether.
Three-game sequence information obtained from MLB.com.
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