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Six Team Chase for the American League Wildcard

The American League wildcard race is as close as it can get heading into the last 10 games of the regular season.

The race has six teams within 3 games of one another after 150 to 152 games have been played by each. This means that two or more teams could actually end the season tied and what happens then as only two teams are allowed to play in a one-day playoff.

If a three or even four way tie were to take place, then complex rules, involving tiebreaking would have to come into play.

The standings are almost as close you can get without every team having identical records.

With Tampa Bay and Texas tied, as of Thursday and Cleveland just a half-game back, it certainly looks like MLB will have to use the tiebreaker.

What if a worst-case scenario took place and four teams tied what then? If you assigned designation as Clubs 1,2,3,4 then Club 1 would host Club 2 and Club 3 would host Club 4 Monday September 30. The two winners are then declared the two wildcard clubs and what is referred to as the play-in game would be held on Wednesday October 2.

If four teams were tied for the second wildcard spot, then things get very interesting. Here is how it would work: Club 1 vs. Club 2, Club 3 vs. Club 4 Monday September 30.

The winners of those two games would play the following day, Tuesday, October 1 to determine the second wildcard spot.

The on October 2, the team that won the four-way playoff for the second wildcard, would play the team that originally qualified for the first wildcard spot in the play-in game.

That would make three extra games before the play-in game is even played three days later.

There are a number of ways to determine what teams is 1, 2, 3 or 4 and they include the team with the highest winning percentage amongst head to head game between the four teams, then the second highest winning percentage and then the club with the third highest percentage.

The club that has the top percentage is able to choose what designation 1, 2, 3 of 4 they want with the logical choice being 1 playing at home in the first playoff and then at home in the second if they win, prior to the play-in game.

If two or more teams end up with the same winning percentage amongst one another, then the intra-division games winning percentage would be the next tiebreaker.

Other tiebreakers exist if those figures were equal but it would bore you and me both to continue.

Let’s just leave that the possibility is big that a playoff could take place before the play-in game at the rate the regular season is winding down.

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