Roger Mooney covers the Tampa Bay Rays for The Tampa Tribune, TBO.com and News Channel 8. He has covered the Rays since their first season in 1998, including 11 years for the Bradenton Herald. Roger has also covered Florida, South Florida and Florida State football, the Bucs and the Lightning.
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Scenarios for Wild Card tiebreakers, if needed
Posted Sep 22, 2011 by Roger Mooney
Updated Sep 22, 2011 at 06:34 PM
NEW YORK The race for the American League now involves three teams since the Angels caught the Rays on Wednesday night.
Both teams are currently 2 ½ games behind the Wild Card-leading Red Sox.
So, the possibility of a tie for the remaining postseason spot exists.
The good news is the tiebreakers favor the Rays.
The Rays were 12-6 against the Red Sox, so that tiebreaker is easy.
The Rays split eight games with the Angels, which means they move to the next tiebreaker and that is record within your division. The Rays have a better record in the AL East than the Angels have in the AL West.
Advantage Tampa Bay.
This means if the Rays finish the regular season tied for the Wild Card lead with either the Red Sox or Angels, the Rays will host a one-game playoff next Thursday at Tropicana Field.
Now, it gets a bit confusing if all three teams finish tied atop the Wild Card standings, because there has to be two games, Sept. 29 and 30.
Two teams will play each other in the first game with the third waiting to play the winner on Sept. 30.
This system favors the Rays, too, since they have a better combined record against the Angels and Red Sox than the Red Sox have against the Angels and Rays and the Angels have against the Rays and Red Sox.
That gives the Rays first choice of three options:
A. Play both playoff games at home.
B. Play the first playoff game on the road and, if you win, you play the second game at home.
C. Play one game, the winner of the first game, but play it on the road.
Rays manager Joe Maddon said he has yet to consider the possibility of a tiebreaker games. He’s more concerned with tonight’s game.
Still, you have to think the Rays would want C and roll the dice with one game.
The winner will advance to the American League Division Series, scheduled to start Oct. 1 if there is a two-game playoff scenario or Sept. 30 if one team clinches the Wild Card during the regular season or if there is only one playoff game.