Once upon a time, mid-September brought up my annual check-in about the potential for end-of-season chaos in playoff races across my Team Entropia series. With a new collective bargaining agreement and a restructured post-season, Major League Baseball has done away with tie-breaking games and the chaos they could cause in favor of the game.
Greed Larger stock of interval games. Combined with an expansion of the playoff field from 10 teams to 12 teams and a wild card round from a pair of winner-take-all games to a three-game quartet, MLB has eliminated every winner-take-all in the regular season. Toys. In the name of efficiency, we no longer have a 163-second game. Instead, relationships will be determined by the excitement of…mathematics. Booooo!
Untangling the often complex scenarios in which a tie-breaker could occur was Team Entropy Cause of existence, although we were able to do so in 2020, when it was in the name of reducing travel and keeping the schedule compressed to accommodate an expanded field, MLB similarly chose to do without on-field tie breaks. It wasn’t nearly as fun, but at least it’s appropriate to paint what’s at stake while pouring one into the memory of what’s lost.
As you probably know by now, each playoff field in the league will consist of six teams, the three winners of the division plus three wild cards with the best records among the remaining teams. The two first division winners get the first place by record in the first round, while the third division winner (seeded #3) hosts all three games against the third best wild card team (#6) and the best wild card team (seeded #4) hosts All three matches against the second best Wild Card team (ranked #5).
There is no replanting after that round. The 3/6 Wild Card winner plays the number. 2 seeded while the winner 4/5 plays no. 1 seed. This leaves open the possibility that the Wild Card contender could face a competitive predicament as it approaches the final weeks of the season: try to arrange things to face the weakest third-tier winners as the sixth seed, and then – if they advance – the second-seed instead of the top-seed rather than collapse and try to get On the 4th seed and the local field advantage of the Wild Card series, only to advance and face the top seed in the Division series. With only 1.5 games separating the Blue Jays, Rays and Mariners from top to bottom, with potential paths through the Astros or Yankees looming in the Division Series, those aren’t some abstract assumptions either. (Yahoo Sports’ Zach Kreiser explored the situation last week, while Baseball’s Rob Maines took a look back in August.)
As mentioned, whether teams are competing for seeding or just making a post-season cut, if two or more teams finish with the same record, everything will be decided on paper (or pixels) rather than more games. Like the five stages of grief, the MLB has five stages of breaking relationships:
- Live Records. This is self-evident when it comes to tie-breaking two teams, and if they play an odd number of matches against each other, which is currently the case if they are in the same division, no further steps are necessary. If there are more than two teams involved, the team with the best combined win percentage against the other teams in a tie wins a tie, and if it still fits, the remaining two teams are unrelated by head-to-head records and along the line.
- Intradivision Records. This one is only suitable for two situations: multi-team scenarios where teams have the same live records within a group, or two Wild Card teams in different divisions; In the latter case, there is still a good chance that they played seven matches against each other instead of six.
- partition records, which means registrations against the other two divisions in the same league. If there was a tie between the AL East team and the AL West team, both of whom have the same intradivision records, this would place the AL East team’s record against the AL Central and AL West teams versus the AL West team’s record against AL Central and AL East teams.
- The second half of the league matches. If a team has 20 between matches, this will be determined based on their win percentage over their last 71 (half 142) matches against teams in their league. And if that doesn’t work…
- Second half of league matches plus one… or more, as needed.. Under the above scenario, that would be determined based on their winning percentage in their last 72 league matches, then 73, 74, 75… as many as it takes.
While the Dodgers have snatched away NL West and Astros the AL West, three of the other divisions have at least seven game margins as of this writing, with at least a 99.5% chance of their leaders holding out according to Playoff Odds. The exception is the NL East, where the Mets lead the Braves by a game and a half, and where they bid farewell in the first round as a no. 2 seeds are also at stake. Settling this would be pretty obvious, as the Mets top the season 9-7 series with three games remaining in Atlanta to play from September 30 to October 2; The Braves need to be combed if they are calling for a tie. Beyond that, here’s the rest of the NL image:
NL Wild Card competitors
|ATL *||93-57||–||3-4 (0,0)||9-7 (0,3)||3-3- (0,0)||40-24||40-26|
|SDP||83-67||4-3 (0,0)||–||3-4 (0,0)||4-3 (0,0)||36-31||40-26|
|PH||82-67||7-9 (3.0)||4-3 (0,0)||–||4-2 (0,0)||37-32||37-26|
|MI||80-70||3-3- (0,0)||3-4 (0,0)||2-4 (0,0)||–||39-32||26-33|
Source: baseball reference
* = Playoff clinch. Yellow = Season Series grabber win. The numbers in parentheses indicate the remaining matches at home and on the road against a specific opponent.
The Braves and Mets have already settled playoff points, and are far enough ahead of the other three teams that there is almost no chance of either finishing in a tie; The loser of this race will be the fourth seed. All the remaining tiebreaks from the two teams, whether to determine the fifth and sixth seed or the sixth seed and the bad luck team, are crystal clear, as their season streak concluded. Phillies have the upper hand on both Padres and Brewers, Brewers have the short end of the stick on both, and Padres have an advantage over Brewers but not Phillies.
If the Padres, Phillies, and Brewers all end up in a tie, the Phillies will get the fifth seed based on his 8-5 record against the other two, compared to the Padres’ 7-7 and the Brewers’ 5-8. Padres would then claim the sixth seed based on the season’s 4-3 advantage over the Brewers, leaving Milwaukee wondering if they should keep Josh Hader.
Al wild card competitions
|TOR||84-66||–||7-9 (0,3)||2-5 (0,0)||8-8 (0,3)||35-29||36-30|
|TBR||83-67||9-7 (3-0)||–||5-2 (0,0)||10-9 (0,0)||39-31||32-28|
|Sea||82-67||5-2 (0,0)||2-5 (0,0)||–||4-2 (0,0)||37-33||33-26|
|Pal||78-71||8-8 (3.0)||9-10 (0,0)||2-4 (0,0)||–||30-36||36-27|
Source: baseball reference
Yellow = Season Series grabber win. The numbers in parentheses indicate the remaining matches at home and on the road against a specific opponent.
With all but one series between these teams having an odd number of matches, and with the only group being an even number and not a split (Marines over the Orioles, 4-2), any relationships between two teams in an AL race will be settled by live records . As you can see, the Rays are particularly well prepared in this regard, racking up consecutive victories over the Mariners and Orioles, and have a two-game advantage over the Blue Jays with three more to play against at Tropicana Field after Thursday night. win over.
If the Blue Jays, Rays and Mariners end up with the Orioles out of the picture, then based on their current records – this is how I do all these scenarios, noting that there are games left – the Rays would win the top seed based on their 14- 9 against the other two teams, compared to Seattle’s 7-7 record and Toronto’s 9-14 record. Once the rai is untied from the knot, the Mariners’ 5-2 advantage over the Blue Jays would put the two teams in the fifth and sixth seed, respectively. If the Blue Jays win Thursday night and then continue to sweep this weekend’s series, then all three teams will have 0.500 in-group records and attention will turn to their divisional records, in which case now it’s the Rays with the best scoring. But that door is shut in our faces, and we move on.
If the Orioles somehow overtake the Rays and end up with the same record as both Toronto and Seattle, the Mariners would get the top seed based on their 9-4 record against the other two teams. The fifth seed will be stuck in the balance while awaiting the outcome of the three-game series between the Blue Jays and the Orioles in Baltimore from October 3-5.
If the Orioles bypass the Mariners (sorry, Seattle fans) and draw with the Blue Jays and Rays, Tampa Bay will be the top seed based on their current 19-16 record against the other two teams; The Orioles are 17-18 and Blue Jays 15-18, but what matters there is only who wins the season series for these two teams, as noted above. If it’s the Blue Jays who are out (sorry, Canada) and the other three teams tie, Tampa Bay has the upper hand in this three-way tiebreak thanks to its 15-11 record against the other two, where Seattle is 6-7 and Baltimore 11-14.
At the closest we’re likely to get in terms of jams, if the four teams end in a draw, Rays will get a nod as the top seed based on their 24-18 record against the other three teams. Both the Orioles (19-22) and Blue Jays (17-22) are below 0.500 inside the group and have no chance of passing the Ray, but the Sailors are 11-9 (.550) and can pass the Rays if Tampa Bay loses all three games remaining to Toronto to lose Their win ratio within the group to 0.533. Once the winner claims no. 4 seeded and eliminated from the group, we return to the tiebreak for the three teams. If Baltimore, Seattle, and Toronto are left, the sailors are no. 5 is seeded based on the aforementioned record 9-4 against the other two, then it’s up to who wins the Baltimore/Toronto season series for the number. 6 seeds. If Baltimore, Tampa Bay and Toronto are left, Rice is the one who gets the no. 5 Ranked based on that 19-16 record, again the result of the Baltimore/Toronto season series that determines who plays and who goes home.
Except for something that had less than a 1% chance of happening – the White Sox had 88 or 89 wins while some of the other September bog contenders stumbled into the September bog — that’s it. The remaining regular season drama will center around the three pending series (Blue Jays-Rise, Blue Jays-Orioles, Mets-Braves), and whatever baseball bonus you get out of it will be limited to additional contests as the dreaded Manfred Man gets started. on the second base. I don’t like it, and you don’t have to either, but it’s what we’re left with.