- Andrew Marchand, ESPN Senior Writer
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The AL wild-card game is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 2. The Yankees finish the regular season Sunday, Sept. 29. This leaves the following Monday and Tuesday as open days for possible tiebreaker games. With thanks to MLB spokesman Michael Teevan, let's go over the possibilities:
Three-way tie for one wild-card spot: Teams are given designations based on their head-to-head meetings. After clubs have been assigned their A, B and C designations, Club A would host Club B on Monday, Sept. 30 (tentatively). The winner of that game would then host Club C on Tuesday, Oct. 1 (tentatively) to determine the wild-card club.
Example: Right now, if the Rays, Yankees and Indians tied for the second wild-card spot, the Yankees are 6-1 versus Cleveland and 7-9 versus Tampa Bay. The Rays are 4-2 versus the Indians.
As it stands -- and note that the Yanks and Rays play three more times -- the Rays would likely be Club C because they have the best head-to-head records against both other teams. They would sit out Monday, while the Yankees would host the Indians. The Yankees-Indians winner would then host the Rays on Tuesday, with the victor becoming the second wild-card team in the AL.
Three-way tie for two wild-card spots: After teams have been assigned their A, B and C designations, Club A would host Club B on Monday, Sept. 30 (tentatively). The winner of that game would be declared one wild-card winner. Club C would then host the loser of the game between Club A and Club B on Tuesday, Oct. 1 (tentatively) to determine the second wild-card team.
Example: If the Rangers, Rays and Yankees all finish with the same record, as it stands now Texas (4-3 versus the Yankees, 2-1 versus Tampa Bay) would be Club A and get two shots to win one game (and would host the first one). Tampa Bay (9-7 versus the Yankees right now) would be Club B. The Rays would play the Rangers in Texas on Monday, with the winner advancing to the playoffs. The loser of the Tampa Bay-Texas game would travel to the Bronx to face the Yankees (Club C) with the second wild-card spot on the line.
It is important to note that the tiebreaker advantages could change, because some of these teams face each other in the final two weeks of the regular season. But this is how things stack up now.
Besides the Indians, the Yankees also own tiebreaker advantages over the Orioles (10-9 in season series) and Royals (5-2).