There may not be any ties to settle when it comes to the Wild Card situation in the American League, and heading into the weekend the Rays control their fate.
But just in case, MLB on Friday held its tiebreaker procedures just in the case that Tampa Bay, Cleveland and Texas all end up with the same record. Tampa Bay had an interesting decision: either go with one, must-win game at home for the second Wild Card or play on the road, but with a second chance to win if needed.
The Rays went with the latter. Specifically they would play Monday at Cleveland, and the winner is a Wild Card. The loser would head to Texas to see who would be the other playoff team.
Cleveland had the first pick of three different options Friday, due to having the top overall record in games among the three teams, Tampa Bay then chose to essentially have two shots -- albeit none at home. The Rays could have selected instead to play at home against the Cleveland-Texas loser, but in that case would have had to win the one and only game.
None of this means a thing unless there is a three-way tie. A two-way tie for the two Wild Card spots would mean both teams are in the Wild Card game; if the Rays are involved they'd either host Cleveland or go to Texas. If one team locks up the first Wild Card (no tie) but the other two are tied for the second spot, there would in essence be a one-game playoff to decide who gets into yet another one-game playoff.
Here's the relevant excerpt from MLB's Friday press release. Again Cleveland chose to be Team A and the Rays went with the Team B option. Naturally Texas is Team C:
If the three Clubs are tied after Sunday’s games, then the tie will be broken using the following system. Since the three Clubs each won one season series and lost one season series against each other in head-to-head competition in the regular season, MLB will use a system of designations – as Club A, Club B or Club C – based on their combined winning percentages in head-to-head competition against one another in the regular season.
Club A would host Club B on Monday, with the winner earning a Wild Card. The loser of Monday’s game would then play at Club C on Tuesday, with Tuesday’s winner earning the other Wild Card.
Home-field advantage in Wednesday’s A.L. Wild Card Game would be determined by the head-to-head record between the two Clubs that earned the Wild Card berth.