MLB announces AL Wild Card tiebreaker procedure
Entering the final weekend, two games separated the Rays, Indians and Rangers
Heading into the final weekend of the season, a trio of teams remain in the hunt for the two American League Wild Card berths. On Friday, Major League Baseball announced the procedure it would use should all three wind up in a tie following Sunday's action.
Before Friday's contests, the Rays led the Indians by one game for the top spot, with the Rangers a game back of Cleveland for the second position. An eventual three-way tie would require two tiebreaker games -- one on Monday and one on Tuesday -- ahead of Wednesday's AL Wild Card Game.
The bottom line is this: The Indians would host the Rays on Monday, with the winner earning one of the berths. The loser would play at Texas on Tuesday for the final spot.
That schedule is the result of the Indians having the best combined record (7-5) against the Rays and Rangers, and therefore having the right to choose to host the first game. The Rays' combined record is second (7-6), and they chose to go on the road on Monday rather than host a game on Tuesday. The Rangers (5-8) were left with only that option.
Home-field advantage in Wednesday's AL Wild Card Game then would be determined by the head-to-head record between the two remaining teams. The Rays hold the advantage over the Indians, the Indians over the Rangers, and the Rangers over the Rays.
If one game is needed to break a tie for a playoff berth between two teams, it will be played on Monday, hosted by the team that won the season series against the other. That applies to determining a division championship whether or not the losing team would still qualify as a Wild Card.
Home-field advantage is determined first by head-to-head records, then by the higher winning percentage in intradivision games. If a further tiebreaker is needed, it's the best winning percentage in the last half of intraleague games.
Any tiebreaker games, along with the Wild Card Games, will be broadcast exclusively on TBS and ESPN Radio.
The Rays play at Toronto this weekend, the Indians are at Minnesota, and the Rangers are hosting the Angels.