Tiebreaker tourney ahead?
What happens if the Astros, Cubs, Marlins and Phillies finish with identical records? Then it gets really wild.
They've made 23 coin flips. They've issued a five-page release detailing what happens if the season ends Sunday and the Marlins and Phillies tie, or the Cubs and Astros tie, or the Red Sox and Mariners tie.
So you can't say Major League Baseball isn't ready for many different kinds of scenarios next week if 162 games aren't enough to settle who makes the playoffs. But some of those scenarios would make us all grateful that Prilosec is now sold over the counter.
What happens, for instance, if the Cubs, Astros, Marlins and Phillies all have the same record? You don't want to know.
Three days' worth of tiebreaker games. That's what happens. Here is how that would go, according to Rob Manfred of the commissioner's office:
If the Dodgers somehow are also tied after Sunday, then you really don't want to know what happens, because MLB's current plan for a five-way tie is: Pray it doesn't happen.
But regardless, here is what this could mean, if all worst-case scenarios actually happened: The Astros could play Sunday in Houston (last game of the regular season), Monday in Chicago (NL Central playoff), Tuesday in Florida or Philadelphia (wild-card playoff), Wednesday in Houston (final wild-card playoff) and Thursday in either San Francisco or Atlanta (first game of NLDS).
Yep, that's five straight games in five days, in different cities every day. And if that happens, is it good news (they made the playoffs) or bad news (jet lag -- yes, frequent-flier miles -- no)? Aw, get back to us Thursday.
Jayson Stark is a senior writer for ESPN.com.
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