The Toronto Blue Jays just dropped an important series against the New York Yankees at home, in Rogers Centre, 2-1.
As of Friday afternoon, Toronto is still in the quest for a playoff spot, but is the least favored of the four teams in contention: the Yankees, Boston Red Sox, and the Seattle Mariners are in the race, too.
The Yankees are up two and close to securing a playoff berth; then the Mariners and the Red Sox are up one against the Blue Jays (Toronto is three games behind the Yankees).
Updated AL Wild Card
Yankees 91-68 +2.0
Red Sox 89-70 –
Mariners 89-70 –
Blue Jays 88-71 1.0
Jays fans… how you feeling with just 3 games to go? pic.twitter.com/g332ZheHWQ
— Tim and Friends (@timandfriends) October 1, 2021
The final series for each team are as follows: the Blue Jays host the Baltimore Orioles, the Yankees host the Tampa Bay Rays, the Red Sox will play in Washington against the Nationals, and the Mariners will be at home versus the Los Angeles Angels.
As of right now, the Yankees would be the first Wild Card and the Red Sox and Mariners would face off in a tie-breaking game to decide the second.
Toronto doesn’t have a postseason spot at the moment.
Any tie for the second Wild Card would result in an extra game, but if the tie is between three teams, in which case, we will explain the scenario below.
Oh, and a four-way tie is also possible.
Let’s explain the scenarios.
Toronto Wins Three Games
If Toronto sweeps the Orioles, they could qualify automatically if both the Mariners and Red Sox don’t win more than one.
If one of those teams wins two and Toronto sweeps, they would face each other in a tie-breaker game.
If the Blue Jays sweep, but the Red Sox and Mariners do the same, Toronto will be eliminated from playoff contention.
It’s important to note that the Blue Jays may still tie with the Yankees in the standings if both the Rays and Blue Jays sweep, and that could complicate the standings even further.
Toronto Wins Two Games
If the Blue Jays win two of their three games, they will qualify directly if Boston and Seattle are swept.
If Toronto wins two and one of Boston and Seattle wins one (with the other getting swept), Toronto would face the one that earned one victory in its final series in a 163rd game.
Toronto may still be eliminated winning two games if both Seattle and Boston do the same.
Toronto Wins One Game
If the Blue Jays win just one game, the best they can hope is a tie-breaker game of some sort.
That would happen if Boston and Seattle get swept over the weekend.
If Toronto takes one, and one of Seattle and Boston do the same (with the other getting swept), then the Blue Jays would still be knocked out of the race.
If Toronto is swept, they have no chance of making it into the postseason.
Is A Four-Way Tie Possible?
If Toronto sweeps, the Yankees get swept, and both the Mariners and Red Sox win two out of three, all teams will be tied at 91-71.
It’s far-fetched, but it’s possible.
What would be the solution?
The teams’ winning percentage against one another is the first tiebreaker and the Red Sox, at .533, would get first choice of the Team A, B, C or D designation, followed by the Blue Jays at .500 (22-22), the Yankees at .489 (22-23) and the Mariners at .450 (9-11). Team A would then host Team B in one tiebreaker with Team C hosting Team D in the other, with the winners then meeting in the wild card.
What Would Happen If Three Teams Tie For The Second Wild Card?
As Jeff Passan recently explained, there is a slight chance that three teams tie for the second Wild Card spot.
– Houston and Atlanta clinched their divisions today
– Yankees' magic number is 2
– In a three-way wild-card tie, teams chose to be Club A, B or C. If it's Boston, Seattle and Toronto, the Red Sox pick first, Mariners second, Blue Jays third. Wrote a bit about it. pic.twitter.com/3Xn1Fo6L5t
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) October 1, 2021
In that case, there are three letters to assign: A, B, and C.
The priority to choose letters would go to the team with the best head-to-head record against the other two clubs.
Letter C would be the most enticing choice because it would need a single win to make it into the Wild Card game, but it would play on the road.
Team C would face the winner of the game between team A and B, with A serving as the host.
Right now, chances are that if there is a three-way tie, it would be between Boston, Seattle and Toronto: the Red Sox would pick first, the Mariners second, and the Blue Jays third.
If the Blue Jays win one more game than BOTH the Mariners and Red Sox over the weekend, there will be a three-way tie.