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A 3-Way Playoff Tie? Still Possible In The American League

With two days remaining in the 2013 regular season, the first three-way tie in major-league history for a postseason spot could still happen.

Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

I'm not going to get the five- or six-way tie for a playoff berth that I had hoped for, and it's pretty amazing that it was even a possibility with one week to go in the season.

Thanks, however, to Friday's results, a three-way tie for the two American League wild-card spots is possible, and if Saturday's games wind up the same way as Friday's, it might even be likely.

The Rays, leading the race and riding a seven-game winning streak that consisted of sweeps over the previously-contending Yankees and Orioles, appeared headed to hosting the wild-card game as they visited Toronto for a season-ending series with the out-of-contention Blue Jays.

But the Jays won. And the Indians, also riding a seven-game winning streak, made it eight with a win over the Twins at Minnesota. The Rangers, desperately trying to catch up, won their home game against the Angels. So with two games to go, here's how the standings look:

Rays    90-70
Indians 90-70
Rangers 89-71

A three-way tie could happen either of these two ways: Rays and Indians go 1-1, Rangers go 2-0 (a tie at 91-71), or Rays and Indians go 0-2, Rangers go 1-1 (a tie at 90-72). If that happens, here's how they'd break the three-way tie:

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.

Then the winners of those two games would play again Wednesday in the actual wild-card game. The article linked above also has this note if there is a two-way tie between any of those clubs:

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 scenario is still possible between any combination of two of the three remaining teams. The Rangers will play the Angels at home later this morning (11:05 a.m. CT) in yet another game that was moved earlier due to the threat of thunderstorms; the Indians/Twins and Rays/Blue Jays games will follow an hour later, so by mid-afternoon Saturday, we'll know what has to happen Sunday to force any tiebreakers.

Finally, in the one National League race not yet completely decided, if the Pirates beat the Reds Saturday, they will host the N.L. wild-card game Tuesday. If the Reds win Saturday's game, then Sunday's contest between the two teams will decide who gets to be the home team Tuesday.

Fun stuff. As Cubs fans, we can live this vicariously through other teams' games, until the Cubs get good enough to return to this late-season fray.