sox-yanks playoff conundrum
October 1, 2005 2:45 PM   Subscribe

Another confusing baseball question: How is it that the Yanks clinched today, when they're one up on the Sox with one to play? If the Sox win tomorrow, why would they not go to a one-game playoff? I understand it has something to do with their head-to-head record, but the Phillies are 0-6 vs. the Astros and if they end the season knotted up they're definitely going to the tiebreaker. Can anybody explain?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total)
Check out this thread from yesterday and this page from
posted by ericb at 2:52 PM on October 1, 2005

It is all so confusing, isn't it?
posted by ericb at 2:54 PM on October 1, 2005

It's because the Indians lost. If the Red Sox win tomorrow, even if the Indians win the Sox will still be ahead for the Wild Card. Since the Yankees have already won the season series against the Red Sox, the Yankees will win the division and the Red Sox will get the Wild Card.

This will also happen if the Indians lose tomorrow. Either a Red Sox win or an Indians loss, or both, and the Red Sox are the Wild Card team. If the Sox lose and the Indians win, the Sox and Indians will have a one-game playoff for the Wild Card.
posted by cerebus19 at 3:10 PM on October 1, 2005

Right Cerebus, but the key is that the Yankees are now assured of a winning record head-to-head against the Sawks (right now the season series stands at 10-8). That is the tiebreaker that determines who wins the division.
posted by Rock Steady at 3:39 PM on October 1, 2005

Rock: Yes, that's why I wrote "Since the Yankees have already won the season series against the Red Sox..."
posted by cerebus19 at 4:41 PM on October 1, 2005

Perhaps this restatment might be helpful:

(1) If the Yankees win on Sunday, then they obviously win the division title.

(2) If the Red Sox win on Sunday, then the Red Sox have a better record than Cleveland, regardless of whether Cleveland wins or losses on Sunday. So if the Red Sox win, then (a) they are tied with the Yankees, and (b) both the Red Sox and Yankees go to the playoffs. Since both teams are going to the playoffs, there is no need for a one-game tiebreaker - the team with the better face-to-face record becomes the division champion, and the other team becomes the wildcard. And (as noted in an answer above) the Yankees are guaranteed the better record (they're now 10-8; losing Sunday would make them 10-9). Thus in scenario (2), the Yankees still end up as division champs.
posted by WestCoaster at 5:26 PM on October 1, 2005

Now that the question has been thoroughly answered, can I just say that I hate both 1) wild-card baseball and 2) the Yankees? I can? Thank you.

/bitter Mets fan, and yes, I know the Mets have benefited from the wild card in the past, I still hate it.
posted by languagehat at 5:35 PM on October 1, 2005

All I'd like to know is why I didn't hear anything about the season series being a tiebreaker until today. All along when hearing about 3-way ties, etc., I kept thinking to myself, "what about the season series, doesn't that count?" I could convince myself that I heard a lot about it last year, yet nothing this year until today. I find this odd since I'm a Yankees (since birth, before the late 1970's, thanks for your hate) and have been watching and listening to Yankees on TV and radio for a number of years. Did MLB just decide to figure it out today, or were they gunning for the ratings and didn't let anybody know until today that the Yankees could clinch with a win and an Indians loss. The permutations aren't that difficult, did I just miss commentators talking about it?
posted by mollweide at 7:06 PM on October 1, 2005

Meanwhile, the Phillies and Astros would go to the one-game playoff if they end today tied because they're vying for the same spot.

I seem to recall an announcement some weeks ago of one-game playoff scenarios, where the leagues had determined through coin flip who would host and such...

/also a mets fan. also grieving yet again...
posted by AJaffe at 5:54 AM on October 2, 2005

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