A four-way tie for the American League wild card would send the Yankees to Fenway Park on Monday to take on the Red Sox for a 163rd game and the right to be an actual wild card, with the Blue Jays and Mariners facing off in Toronto in the other contest.
On Saturday, the four teams involved in the unprecedented wild-card hunt made their selections for the potential of all of them finishing with identical 91-71 records. That would occur if the Yankees lose to the Rays, the Red Sox lose to the Nationals, the Blue Jays beat the Orioles and the Mariners beat the Angels.
The teams are seeded based on their collective head-to-head records against the other three clubs, which results in this:
- Red Sox (24-21)
- Blue Jays (22-22)
- Yankees (22-23)
- Mariners (9-11)
Not surprisingly, as the top two seeds, the Red Sox and Blue Jays chose to host the play-in games. Then the Yankees, as the third seed, got to select their opponent. They opted to go to Fenway to face the Red Sox, whom they swept in Boston last weekend.
The Mariners then wound up with the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.
The winners of the two games advance to Tuesday’s AL wild-card game, to be played at the site of the club with the better head-to-head record. The Yankees lose such a tiebreaker against the Red Sox and Blue Jays and win it against the Mariners, so there’d be a wild-card game at Yankee Stadium Tuesday only if it’s Mariners-Yankees.
The Yankees also made their selections in these other scenarios:
— If they tie the Blue Jays and Mariners for the second wild-card spot, the Yankees will host the Mariners on Monday, and if they win, they’d host the Blue Jays on Tuesday for the right to play the Red Sox Wednesday at Fenway in the wild-card game.
— If the Yankees, Red Sox and Blue Jays tie for the two wild-card slots, the Blue Jays would face the Red Sox Monday at Fenway Park, with the winner nabbing one wild card, and the loser would face the Yankees Tuesday at Yankee Stadium, with the winner getting the other spot. The wild-card game would be Wednesday. Since the Yankees lose tiebreakers to both the Red Sox and Blue Jays, they’d play that game on the road.
— If the Yankees, Red Sox and Mariners tie for the two wild-card slots, the Yankees would play the Red Sox at Fenway on Monday, with the winner moving forward and the loser visiting the Mariners on Tuesday. The two winners would face off Wednesday in the wild-card game; the Yankees would host it against the Mariners and play at Fenway against the Red Sox.