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Here’s a plausible scenario for a four-way tie among N.L. contenders

No multiple-team tie has ever happened for a postseason spot. We could be headed for that this year.

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Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images

There have been quite a few tiebreaker games for MLB postseason spots over the years, most recently in 2013, when the Rays and Rangers had to play such a game to determine who would get the second wild-card spot. The Rays won the tiebreaker, then won the wild-card game, but lost a division series to the Red Sox. Here’s a complete list of all MLB tiebreaker games (and series, as prior to divisional play, ties were broken in best-of-three series).

There has, however, never been a three-team (or more than three-team) tie for any MLB postseason berth.

This year? With a week and a half to go in the regular season, we have this plausible scenario where the Brewers, Cardinals, Dodgers and Rockies all wind up at 90-72. In order to have that happen, here’s how the teams would have to wrap up their final 10 games (11 for Colorado):

Brewers 4-6
Cardinals 6-4
Dodgers 6-4
Rockies 8-3

Not easy or even likely... but far from impossible. The Rockies have lost four of five on their current road trip, but after their current series in Los Angeles head to Arizona to play the reeling Diamondbacks, then host the Phillies and Nationals at Coors Field.

The Dodgers have to go on the road to Arizona and San Francisco to finish their season.

Meanwhile, after they finish their current series, the Cardinals host the Giants and Brewers travel to Pittsburgh... then they play each other in St. Louis. And then the Cardinals visit the Cubs, while the Brewers host the Tigers to end the regular season.

There are lots of permutations, including the fact that whoever wins the Cardinals/Brewers series next week would host a tiebreaker between the two clubs (or the wild-card game), since their season series is tied at eight wins each.

Jayson Stark wrote about all these possible combinations at The Athletic on Tuesday. That’s a subscription-only site, so if you don’t subscribe (and really, you should, it’s a great value), here’s what would happen if that four-team tie becomes reality:

So what happens if the Brewers, Cardinals, Dodgers and Rockies finish tied – leaving the NL West and both wild-card spots in bedlam? Here is how they’d settle that:

MONDAY, OCT. 1: We’d get not one but two tiebreaker games. Woohoo! Rockies at Dodgers to decide the NL West, plus Cardinals-Brewers (site TBD) with the winner of that one clinching one spot in the wild card game.

TUESDAY, OCT. 2: The two losing teams play again for the second vacancy in the wild card game (which is currently scheduled for – of course! – Oct. 2, but would have to be bumped back by a day). The winner of this one lives to play in the wild card game. The loser heads for the fishing hole.

That sounds relatively simple, although it would push the N.L. wild-card game back a day (something that would make MLB executives’ collective heads explode, since they seem so rigidly locked in to The Postseason Schedule and don’t want it changed in any way).

If this four-team tie comes to pass, here are the possible cities the four teams could play in on five consecutive days, with not only a chaotic travel schedule, but pitching rotations that would likely lie in tatters.


SUNDAY: San Francisco (game 162).
MONDAY: Los Angeles (NL West tiebreaker).
TUESDAY: St. Louis (final wild card game tiebreaker)
WEDNESDAY: Milwaukee (wild card game)
THURSDAY: Chicago (NLDS opener)


SUNDAY: Denver (game 162)
MONDAY: Los Angeles (NL West tiebreaker)
TUESDAY: St. Louis or Denver (final wild card game tiebreaker)
WEDNESDAY: Denver or St. Louis (wild card game)
THURSDAY: Chicago (NLDS opener)


SUNDAY: Milwaukee (game 162)
MONDAY: St. Louis or Milwaukee (wild card tiebreaker)
TUESDAY: Denver or Los Angeles (final wild card game tiebreaker)
WEDNESDAY: St. Louis or Milwaukee (wild card game)
THURSDAY: Chicago (NLDS opener)


SUNDAY: Chicago (game 162)
MONDAY: Milwaukee (wild card tiebreaker)
TUESDAY: St. Louis (versus either L.A. or Colorado in final wild card tiebreaker)
WEDNESDAY: Milwaukee or St. Louis (wild card game)
THURSDAY: Chicago (NLDS opener)

As Cubs fans, we should root for this sort of madness, while the Cubs, presumably having won the N.L. Central and with the league’s best record, sit and wait for their Thursday, October 4 opponent, probably against that team’s third- or fourth-best pitcher.

That would be fun. Watching all these games would be fun. As the season comes to its close, in addition to rooting for the Cubs, for the other contenders we should all root for chaos.