Game 163, anyone?
The Mariners (84-69) entered Friday’s series opener in Anaheim still alive in the American League playoff hunt, trailing the New York Yankees (86-67) by two games for the second and final wild-card bid.
The Toronto Blue Jays (85-68) entered Friday one game ahead of the Mariners and one game back of the Yankees.
The Boston Red Sox (88-65) hold the No. 1 wild-card spot.
So that’s four teams within four games of each other, and a lot of potential playoff jostling over the final week of the regular season — and a lot of potential tiebreaker scenarios to sort out.
Even after sweeping a four-game series in Oakland, the Mariners are long shots to earn a playoff bid. BaseballReference.com calculates their odds at 8.2%; FanGraphs at 5.4%.
Still, they are alive. There is hope, and they have momentum.
And, yes, there is a possibility they could need more than 162 games to secure their first postseason bid in 20 years.
What would happen if the Mariners wind up in a tie for a wild-card spot? Here are a few scenarios:
— If the Mariners tie with the Yankees for the second wild-card spot, the Mariners and Yankees would play Game 163 Monday, Oct. 4, in New York. The Yankees would host because they took the season series against the Mariners, winning five of the seven games.
— If the Mariners tie with the Blue Jays for the second wild-card spot, the Mariners and Blue Jays would play Game 163 Oct. 4 in Seattle. The Mariners get home-field advantage in that scenario because they beat the Blue Jays in four of their six games this season.
The winner of Game 163 would then travel to the No. 1 wild-card team to play Oct. 5.
Want to take it a step further?
There has never been a three-way tie in MLB history, but it is still a possibility in this AL race.
Here are the scenarios if there is a three-way tie: (It’s a little complicated. Stay with us here.)
Note: Each of the three teams would choose/receive an A, B and C designation*.
— Club A hosts Club B on Monday, Oct. 4.
— Club C then travels to the winner of the A-B game to play Oct. 5. (Exact dates could change.) The winner of that game advances to play on the road against the No. 1 wild-card team in the single-elimination wild-card game.
(*The A-B-C designations are determined by the winning percentages among the tied teams, and those won’t get fully sorted out until next week because the Yankees still have series to play against the Red Sox and Blue Jays.)
There are more scenarios if there is a four-way tie for the wild card, but that’s much less likely at this point.
A three-way tie? Game 163? At this point, those don’t seem all that far-fetched.