Clinching and Ties and such

David Pinto has contacted MLB to determine what would happen in the event of a 3 way tie where a division winner and wild card would make up 2 of the 3 teams. The answer is a multi-game playoff.

there would be a two game playoff for the division, and the two losing teams would then play another game for the wild card. However, it is being discussed that if the two game playoff results in a 1-0, 1-1, 0-1 result, that the third playoff game would be abandoned, the 1-0 team would be the division winner and the 1-1 team would get the wild card.

Meanwhile Kurt is tracking the various clinching scenarios in his sidebar.


  1. Greg

    September 18, 2006 at 9:21 pm

    I think the alternative approach, where the 1-0 and 1-1 teams are in, with the 0-1 team out, is unfair. It places undue importance on the ORDER of the games, making the first game for each of the two teams who play the last game a MUST WIN, whereas the other team knows it still has a chance.

    I don’t know if my explanation makes sense; maybe I’m not understanding the setup. But something seems wrong.

  2. Greg

    September 18, 2006 at 9:23 pm

    I guess the fear is having three teams at 1-1, and then having to do it all over again. But I think margin-of-victory, or even a soccer-style homerun-derby shootout, would be better tiebreakers than avoiding the situation altogether by not playing the final game.

  3. Jeff M

    September 18, 2006 at 9:42 pm

    The problem is that if you play three games and the away team wins all three, you’re in a pickle. Do you play three more? That’s not practical, because it could easily happen again and now the league becomes a laughingstock.

    So at some point, you have to give undue importance to something. The only options that I see are:

    1) The order in which the games are played
    2) A mutually agreed upon statistic.

    Purists would HATE option 2. I may be wrong, but I doubt baseball has ever broken any sort of tie with a statistic.

    The team that scores the most runs in a game wins.
    The team that wins the most games wins.

    Option 1 is arbitrary, but ultimately no more harmful to these principles than the home-field coin flips.

    What I’m more concerned with is why this wasn’t sorted out a decade ago?

  4. Alan

    September 18, 2006 at 11:12 pm

    The White Sox are doing their best to make sure a 3 way tie is not something MLB has to worry about resolving.

  5. Greg

    September 18, 2006 at 11:45 pm

    I think margin of victory, as opposed to runs scored, is okay.

  6. Rich

    September 19, 2006 at 12:10 am

    Purists would HATE option 2. I may be wrong, but I doubt baseball has ever broken any sort of tie with a statistic.

    Remember that time that the Red Sox and Yankees had the same record in the AL East, but the Red Sox got the wild card because the Yankees went 10-9 against them?

    Last year, I think. I may be wrong on the numbers, but I think i heard this on ESPN.

  7. Jeff M

    September 19, 2006 at 12:41 am

    I wasn’t paying much attention last year, Rich, so I’ll take your word for it. I think head-to-head record is a reasonable way to settle a tie, but you would have to use that in lieu of a tie-breaker games. Once you’ve already played one or more tie-breaker games, it would be silly to fall back on head-to-head records.

  8. Greg

    September 19, 2006 at 11:12 am

    With the Yankees/Red Sox, it wasn’t as big a deal because both teams were going to make the playoffs, correct? They just needed a divisional and w.c. winner for seeding, which still matters, just not as much as missing the playoffs altogether.