How all of Sunday's possible AL Wild Card scenarios could shake out

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Today marks the end of the MLB regular season, and the Yankees’ playoff hopes are simple: win and they’re in, either heading to Boston for the AL Wild Card Game on Tuesday (if Boston also defeats Washington) or hosting one of three teams (the Red Sox, Blue Jays, or Mariners) depending on the results of Sox vs. Nats, Jays vs. Orioles, and/or Mariners vs. Angels.

Where it gets complicated is if the Yankees lose, however. The season won’t end today for sure, as the worst they could do is some sort of tie for a Wild Card spot – but there could be a two, three, or four-way tie for the two Wild Card spots depending on the results of those other games, the easiest scenario seeing all four contenders lose (which would send the Yankees to Boston Tuesday, and the Jays and M’s home).

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The second easiest scenario is one of the Yankees or Red Sox win, and one of the Mariners or Jays lose, meaning the top Wild Card is set and a two-way tie for the second. That sets up one Game 163 (Yankees or Red Sox vs.
Mariners or Blue Jays) with that winner headed to either New York or Boston for the AL Wild Card Game Tuesday.

But what if there is a four-way tie (Boston/NY lose, SEA/TOR win)? This is how it would shake out:

That was determined by season series records amongst the four teams, with each team choosing in order to be Team A, B, C, or D for a mini-tourney where A hosts B and C hosts D, with the winners meeting in the Wild Card Game.

The Red Sox had the best record against the other three and got to choose first, followed by the Jays and then the Yankees, with the Mariners getting the leftover spot. As per Heyman’s Tweet, the Sox and Jays opted to host games, and the Yankees chose to go to Boston, leaving Seattle headed to Toronto for a pair of Monday tiebreakers.

Should the Yankees beat Boston in that scenario, they would host Seattle or go to Toronto, based on head-to-head, for Tuesday’s Wild Card Game.

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As for the other tiebreakers, well, this is the result if the Yankees are the only team to lose today:

In this case, Boston’s win would give them the top Wild Card. The Yankees-Jays-Mariners tie would be broken based on a tiebreaker where teams would again be ranked by overall head-to-head records against the other teams, with A, B, and C designations, and this is how it shakes out per MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince:

Club A hosts Club B on Monday. The winner of that game then hosts Club C on Tuesday to determine the road team in the AL Wild Card Game, which would be held Wednesday (scenario is the same if the Red Sox lose and all three others win, giving the Yankees Wild Card 1).

And if there’s a three-way tie for both spots, meaning the Sox and Yankees lose but only one of the Mariners or Jays win? Club A would host Club B on Monday, with the winner declared one AL Wild Card team, and Club C would then host the loser of that game on Tuesday to determine the second Wild Card team. The Wild Card Game would be Wednesday, with the host determined by head-to-head record between the two teams that make it.

The downside to all that, potentially, is that the Yankees could play up to five games in five days, and everyone waiting and watching would have Excedrin headache No. 5!

The easiest route is, as Al Davis used to say, just win baby, but you can tune to WFAN-FM or the main stream at 2:30 pm (Giants vs. Saints will be on WFAN-AM and the WFAN2 stream) to hear John & Suzyn call all the action – and they’ll be scoreboard watching like all of us!

Follow Lou DiPietro on Twitter: @LouDiPietroWFAN

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