MLB tiebreaker rules - what you need to know in case the Reds or Indians tie for a playoff spot

BY foxsports • September 24, 2013

The following information was originally posted on MLB.com and pertains to tiebreaking rules for the postseason. With several close races in the final week, we may see some of these rules come into play;
With an extra Wild Card up for grabs this year, there are even more opportunities for there to be teams deadlocked when the last out of the last game is made on Sunday, Sept. 29. With that in mind, Major League Baseball has released tiebreaker scenarios in case two, three or even four teams are involved.


If just one game is needed to settle the issue, it will tentatively be played on Monday, Sept. 30. That applies to determining the division championship whether or not the losing team would still qualify as a Wild Card.
For example, if the Reds and Cardinals end up with identical records at the top of the NL Central, but both clubs would make the postseason regardless, the winner of their extra game would be declared the division winner while the loser would have to play in the sudden death Wild Card playoff game.
Homefield advantage is determined first by head-to-head records, then by the higher winning percentage in intradivision games. If a further tie-breaker is needed it's the best winning percentage in the last half of intraleague games.
The same format will be used if two teams tie for the division and also tie for both available wild card spots. The two division teams would play each other on Monday with the winner being named division champion and the loser meeting the other team in the Wild Card playoff.
It's also possible that two additional games could be needed before the playoff teams are seeded. In that case, they would tentatively be played on Monday and Tuesday. Here's a summary of the possibilities:
Determining Home-Field Advantage in Two-Team Tiebreakers
1. Head-to-head winning percentage during the 2013 regular season.2. Higher winning percentage in intradivision games.3. Higher winning percentage in the last half of intraleague games.4. Higher winning percentage in the last half plus one intraleague game, provided that such additional game was not between the two tied clubs. Continue to go back one intraleague game at a time until the tie has been broken.
Determining A, B, C Designations in Three-Team Tiebreakers
1. All Three Clubs Have Identical Records Against One Another
• Club with highest winning percentage among three tied clubs in intradivision games chooses its designation, followed by the team with the next highest winning percentage in intradivision games. If any two of the clubs have identical winning percentages, then then the two-Club tiebreak rules will break that tie. If all three Clubs have identical winning percentages, then;
• Club with the highest winning percentage in the last half of intraleague games chooses its designation, followed by the team with the next highest winning percentage in intraleague games. If any two of the clubs have identical winning percentages, then then the two-Club tiebreak rules will break that tie. If all three Clubs have identical winning percentages, then;
• Club with the highest winning percentage in the last half plus one intraleague game, provided that such additional game was not between any of the tied Clubs, chooses its designation, followed by the team with the next highest winning percentage in the last half plus one intraleague game. Continue to go back one intraleague game at a time until the tie has been broken.
2. Three Clubs Do Not Have Identical Records Against One Another
• If Club 1 has a better record against Clubs 2 and 3, and Club 2 has a better record against Club 3, then Club 1 chooses its designation, followed by Club 2.
• If Club 1 has a better record against Clubs 2 and 3, and Club 2 and 3 have identical records against one another, then Club 1 chooses its designation. Clubs 2 and 3 would follow the two-Club tiebreak rules to break their tie to pick the next designation.
• If Club 1 and 2 have identical records against one another, but each has a better record against Club 3, then Clubs 1 and 2 would follow the two-Club tiebreak rules to break their tie to pick the first designation.
• If Club 1 has a better record against Club 2, Club 2 has a better record against Club 3, and Club 3 has a better record against Club 1; OR Club 1 has a better record against Club 2, Club 2 and 3 have identical records against one another and Club 3 has a better record against Club 1; OR Club 1 and 2 have identical records against one another, Club 1 has a better record against Club 3 and Club 2 and 3 have identical records against one another, then:
a. The Clubs will be ranked by their overall winning percentage amongst the other Clubs combined. The Club with the highest overall winning percentage in that group chooses its designation, followed by the team with the next highest overall winning percentage.
b. If two of the Clubs have identical winning percentages, then they would follow the two-Club tiebreak rules to break their tie to pick their designation.
c. If all three teams have identical winning percentages, then the tiebreak rules above (No. 1) for three clubs having identical records against one another should be followed.
Tiebreak Scenarios
Two-Club Tie for Division Championship and Wild Card:One tiebreak game will be played on Monday, Sept. 30 (tentatively) to determine the Division Champion. The loser of the game will be declared a Wild Card. Home field advantage will be determined by the rules above for a two-team tiebreaker.
Two-Club Tie for One Wild Card Spot:One tiebreak game will be played on Monday. Sept. 30 (tentatively) to determine the Wild Card. Home field advantage will be determined by the rules above for a two-team tiebreaker.
Three-Club Tie for Division Championship & Two Wild Card Spots:After Clubs have been assigned their A, B and C designations, Club A would host Club B on Monday, Sept. 30 (tentatively). The loser of the game would be declared one Wild Card Club. The winner of that game would then host Club C on Tuesday, Oct. 1 (tentatively) to determine the Division Champion. The loser of the game would be declared the other Wild Card Club.
Three-Club Tie for One Wild Card Spot: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 the game would then host Club C on Tuesday, Oct. 1 (tentatively) to determine the Wild Card Club.
Three-Club Tie for Two Wild Card Spots: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 the 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 Club.


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