MLB playoffs: everything you need to know about the last day of the season

Since the second wild card was added in 2012, baseball fans have been cheering for the playoff ‘chaos’, with multiple playoff spots still to be resolved on the final day of the season, or beyond.

So far, there have only been three required tiebreaker occasions since 2012. In 2013, the Rays and Rangers played for second place as a wild card in the American League. In 2018, the Brewers played the Cubs for the National League Central title, while the Dodgers played the Rockies for the National League West crown, with the losers of those two games advancing to the wild card game.

But this year, we have a very good chance to have a fourth tiebreaker contest. Going into the final day of the season, both American League wild cards are up for grabs, with the potential for various tiebreaker scenarios between four teams. The Giants ‘extra-inning loss to the Padres on Saturday combined with the Dodgers’ victory (Julio Urias won his 20th game) holds the National League West title at stake.

Every Sunday game starts at 3:05 pm or 3:10 pm ET, so neither team gets an advantage knowing what happened in previous games (as was the case previously). The stakes are high and it’s hard to keep track, so we’re breaking it down all: who has a win, who needs help, and which teams have the best chance of wreaking havoc.

This is what you need to know.


Well, this is what can happen:

1. If the Yankees and Red Sox win, or if they lose and the Blue Jays and Mariners lose too, it’s Yankees-Red Sox in the wild card game Tuesday at Fenway Park. (The Red Sox won the season series 10-9).

2. If there is a two-team tie for the second wild card, the two will play a tiebreaker game on Monday to earn a chance in Tuesday’s wild card game. The home team will be the team with the best head-to-head record. Scenarios at stake: Yankees at Blue Jays, Mariners at Yankees, Blue Jays at Red Sox, Mariners at Red Sox.

3. If three teams finish tied for two wild-card spots, the teams receive A, B, and C designations based on their combined head-to-head winning percentage. A host B on Monday and the winner is a wild card team. The loser then visits C to determine the second wild card team (in this scenario, the wild card game is delayed to Wednesday).

Four. If there is a three-team tie for the second wild card, the teams receive the same A, B, and C designations. A receives B on Monday and the winner of that game receives C on Tuesday, with the wild card game again postponed. for Wednesday.

5. If there is a four-way tie for two wild cards – that would require the Blue Jays and Mariners to win, and the Yankees and Red Sox to lose – teams receive A, B, C, and D designations. C receives D, and the two winners advance to the wild card game. FiveThirtyEight gives this an 8% chance of happening. The order of selection is Boston, Toronto, New York and Seattle, so Boston and Toronto would play home games, leaving the Yankees to choose between playing in Boston or Toronto. How much fun would that be?

These are the games that matter on Sunday:

After winning eight of nine, the Yankees entered the weekend needing only one win to secure a wild card, and proceeded to lose 4-3 on Friday and 12-2 on Saturday. However, with a win they are within, and are guaranteed at least one tiebreaker game on Monday.

“Here we go to Game 162, not knowing what the future is,” said the Yankees outfielder. Brett gardner after the defeat on Saturday. “It’s not ideal. But it’s good to know that we still have a chance. The way the season has gone, it makes sense that it comes down to the last day. It seems right.”

The Yankees had originally scheduled Luis Severino to start in what would have been a bullpen game, but manager Aaron Boone announced Saturday that they would return to Taillon, who had aggravated an ankle injury in his previous start Tuesday.

In his last seven starts, Taillon has a 6.75 ERA with seven homers allowed in 28 innings, and the Yankees would love to avoid having to play Monday, which means starting at Gerrit cole instead of saving it for the wild card game.

The Rays have already clinched the No. 1 seed, which means they play the wild-card winner in the division series. Really, the biggest advantage they can hope for is having as many playoff games as possible for those teams to burn pitchers before they get to the ALDS.

Red Sox (Chris Sale) in Nationals (Joan Adon)

The Red Sox controlled their destiny before losing two of three to the Orioles, but they have recovered by taking the first two games against the Nationals. The offense has been in a small slump in its last eight games (especially considering that five of them were against the O’s and Nationals), hitting .226 / .303 / .389.

Despite offensive problems, the Red Sox will be big favorites in this one. Sale, in his ninth start since returning from Tommy John surgery, faces right-hander Adon, 23, who will make his major league debut. Sale is 5-1 with a 2.90 ERA and has beaten in six innings and 90 pitches so far, so he may not go too deep. Meanwhile, Adon spent most of 2021 at Class A Wilmington, where he had a 4.97 ERA in 17 starts, before making two Double-A starts and one Triple-A start. He’s the 22nd Nationals prospect, according to “He’s one of our promising young guys, so I want to see how he does,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said of Adon. It looks like Martinez is giving the Red Sox a little gift here.

If they need it, the Red Sox have Nathan Eovaldi ready for a playoff; But like the Yankees with Cole, Boston obviously hopes that Eovaldi’s next start will come in the wild-card game.



Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s 47th home run of the season stands out in the Blue Jays’ big win over the Orioles.

The Blue Jays lost two of three to three to the Yankees during the week before beating the Orioles twice to stay alive. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. he homered Saturday (he had gone 13 games without one) as part of a five-homer “round” on Baltimore’s pitching. Guerrero’s 47th home run tied him with Eddie Mathews for the most in history by a player 22 or younger.

Ryu has allowed 15 runs, including five home runs, in his last three starts and 8⅓ innings, during a 10-day stint on the disabled list with a neck strain.

If Ryu doesn’t last long, it will be interesting to see Charlie Montoyo stir. José Berríos would be the available starter on three days off, although you’ll want to have him available for a playoff game on Monday and then the Cy Young winner, Robbie ray, on Tuesday. But first you have to get to Monday.

Angels (Reid Detmers) in Mariners (Tyler anderson)



The Mariners remain in playoff chances as Mitch Haniger home runs ahead in a win against the Angels.

Seattle, which entered the weekend tied with Boston for the second wild card, is trying to end the longest postseason drought (since 2001) in any of the four major sports leagues (MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL). A tough 2-1 loss on Friday (the Mariners had runners in first and third in the seventh inning with no outs and a double in the first inning and failed to score both times) means they now need some help getting into a game. tie-breaker.

Anderson is 2-2 with a 4.50 ERA in 12 starts since coming in in a deadline trade. The Mariners relievers Casey sadler, Paul sewald and Drew steckenrider they have been the dominant forces in the team’s 19-9 record since early September, including an 11-2 mark in Seattle’s last 13 to reach Sunday.


It is appropriate that this race be shortened to the last day. This one’s a little easier: If the Giants lose and the Dodgers win, we’ll have a playoff game on Monday in San Francisco. (The Giants won the season series 10-9).

These are the games that matter on Sunday:

The Giants started the ace Kevin Gausman on Saturday, and that was absolutely the right decision. Think of it this way: The Giants could have saved Gausman and tried to win the division without him, but which team is he more likely to beat, the Padres or the Dodgers? If San Francisco had beaten the Padres, it would have had enough rest to line up for Game 1 of the division series on Thursday. It just didn’t work. The good news for San Francisco fans: The Giants will take the division with a victory Sunday, and they have lost two games in a row just once since early September.

The Dodgers were last tied for first place on September 3 and were up by half a game on September 1, the only two days they have been in first place since April 28. Yet here they are, with a chance to win the division. Justin turner hit a huge three-run homer off Corbin burnes in the first inning with two outs to lead to Saturday’s victory, and then the Dodgers took a break when Burnes was retired after two innings in his final pre-postseason set-up.