The National League playoff race is still wide open heading into the scheduled final day of the regular season. It's possible that 162 games won't be enough to settle the postseason picture.The Cubs and Brewers are still battling for the NL Central title, and the Rockies and Dodgers are still
The National League playoff race is still wide open heading into the scheduled final day of the regular season. It's possible that 162 games won't be enough to settle the postseason picture.
The Cubs and Brewers are still battling for the NL Central title, and the Rockies and Dodgers are still battling for the NL West.
If one or both of those races ends up tied after the weekend, there would need to be tiebreaker games played to determine who makes the playoffs, and in which spot. Major League Baseball announced the schedule for those potential tiebreaker games Friday.
If only one tiebreaker game is needed
That game would be played on Monday at 4:09 p.m. ET on ESPN. It could be one of two matchups:
• The Cubs hosting the Brewers at Wrigley Field to determine the NL Central winner, with the loser becoming the home team for the NL Wild Card Game.
• The Dodgers hosting the Rockies at Dodger Stadium to determine the NL West winner.
If two tiebreaker games are needed
The first game would be Monday at 1:05 p.m. ET, with the second game to follow at 4:09 p.m.
The 1:05 p.m. game would be the Cubs hosting the Brewers for the NL Central title. The 4:09 p.m. game would be the Dodgers hosting the Rockies for the NL West title. Both games would be on ESPN.
There have been four tiebreaker games played in MLB since 2000, the most recent being Rays vs. Rangers in 2013 to determine the second American League Wild Card team. The Rays beat the Rangers on the road in Arlington, 5-2, and then beat the Indians in the AL Wild Card Game in Cleveland, but fell to the Red Sox in the AL Division Series.
Tiebreaker games were also needed to decide the AL Central in back-to-back years in 2008 and '09. The first of those was a 1-0 nailbiter between the White Sox and Twins in Chicago, with the White Sox advancing to the postseason on Jim Thome's seventh-inning solo home run, with the Twins missing the playoffs. In 2009, though, the Twins won a tiebreaker game to take the AL Central crown, eliminating the Tigers from postseason contention in a 12-inning, 6-5 thriller, with Alexi Casilla delivering the walk-off single off Fernando Rodney.
The first tiebreaker game this millennium came in 2007, when the "Rocktober" Rockies capped off a dramatic late-season surge with an incredible win over the Padres in a 13-inning classic at Coors Field to win the NL Wild Card. After Scott Hairston's go-ahead two-run homer for San Diego in the top of the 13th, the Rockies scored three times to win the game in the bottom of the 13th, with Matthew Holliday diving home with the walk-off run on Jamey Carroll's sacrifice fly against Trevor Hoffman. The Rockies would end up making it to the World Series.
David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler.