When Major League Baseball instituted the dual-Wild Card system before the 2012 season, it was widely assumed that there would be years in which a cluster of clubs with identical records would require their own tournament of tiebreaker games merely to decide who advances to the one-and-done Wild Card postseason
When Major League Baseball instituted the dual-Wild Card system before the 2012 season, it was widely assumed that there would be years in which a cluster of clubs with identical records would require their own tournament of tiebreaker games merely to decide who advances to the one-and-done Wild Card postseason round.
To date, though, that's yet to happen. We've had just one tiebreaker game -- a 2013 tilt between the Rays and Rangers to decide the second American League Wild Card slot -- since this format was initiated. And we haven't had a division tiebreaker since the Twins and Tigers rumbled at the Metrodome back in 2009 to decide the AL Central winner.
• 2018 postseason schedule
But one can never be too prepared, and this year we've got a couple of tiebreaker possibilities in the National League.
Scenario: Two teams tie for the division
The classic division push, and we entered the final day of the season Sunday with the possibility of such a tie in both the NL Central and NL West.
If the Brewers and Cubs and/or Dodgers and Rockies end Sunday's play still tied atop their respective divisions, a tiebreaker (or tiebreakers) will be played on Monday.
The winner of any tiebreaker would advance to the NL Division Series round as the division champion, while the loser would head to the NL Wild Card Game. In the NL West, the Dodgers would host the Rockies in a tiebreaker game on Monday if the two teams remain tied atop the division, by virtue of the superior head-to-head season record (12-7).
In the NL Central, the Cubs would host the Brewers for the same reason (11-8).
The winner of the Cubs-Brewers tiebreaker would qualify for the top seed in the NL and face the winner of the NL Wild Card Game in the NLDS. The winner of Dodgers-Rockies would face the Braves in the NLDS. The loser of either tiebreaker game would play in the NL Wild Card Game on Tuesday.
*Note that if the head-to-head matchup is a draw, home-field advantage in all scenarios listed below goes to the team with the better intradivision record, or failing that, the team with the better intraleague record.
Scenario: The two World Series teams have the same regular-season record
In case you forgot, World Series home-field advantage is now tied to regular-season records. If the Cubs and Indians, for example, were to face each other in the World Series and had identical regular-season records, home field would go to the club with the better head-to-head record in 2018. In this case, that would be the Indians, who beat the Cubs three times in their four meetings this year. Had the clubs not met in Interleague Play, the second tiebreaker would be division record. If that were also a tie, the tiebreaker would be intraleague records (the NL club's record vs. NL teams and the AL team's record vs. AL teams).
Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince.