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What happens if the Mets, Cardinals and Giants finish in a three-way tie?

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The Cardinals, Mets and Giants are playing musical chairs for the two National League Wild Card slots. No one is playing particularly well. The Giants are in freefall, the Mets just got swept by the Braves and the Cardinals got pounded by the Rockies yesterday and have been running hot and cold. Their collective wheel-spinning has even gotten the Pirates (3.5 games out) and the Marlins (4) back into the conversation, at least nominally.

The best part of this is that the Mets, Giants and Cardinals, each of whom are 80-72 right now, could end up in a three-way tie. That’d be when the fun really starts.

Here’s what MLB’s official page on all tiebreakers says about that scenario:

Three-Club Tie for Two Wild Card Spots:
After Clubs have been assigned their A, B and C designations, Club A would host Club B. The winner of the game would be declared one Wild Card winner. Club C would then host the loser of the game between Club A and Club B to determine the second Wild Card Club.

The “A, B, C designations” thing is determined by head-to-head records first. None of the three teams plays each other any more this year. The Mets and Cards are 3-3 against each other. Each are 4-3 against the Giants. So either way, the Giants are third in that A-B-C thing. To break the tie of the tie between the Mets and Cards, you go to intradivision records, meaning the Mets against the NL East and the Cards against the NL Central. At the moment the Cardinals are better against their own division, 36-30, while the Mets are 33-33 against their East rivals. Yup, those games against the Braves this week mattered!

SO: with the caveat that both the Cards and Mets have a lot of intradivision games left and thus it could change, if the season ended today, the Cardinals would be Club A, the Mets would be Club B and the Giants would be Club C. Which means the tiebreaker would look like this, if all three teams finished with identical records:

  • Sunday October 2: Regular Season Ends;
  • Monday October 3: Mets vs. Cards in St. Louis, winner is one of the Wild Card teams
  • Tuesday October 4: Mets vs. Cards loser vs. the Giants in San Francisco, winner is the second Wild Card team

The very next day, Wednesday, October 5, the winner of the game in San Francisco would have to play in either St. Louis or New York in the actual Wild Card game, which would determine who then had to fly to Chicago to face the Cubs in the NLDS. Which begins on Friday, October 7.

Got that?

While Mets, Cards and Giants fans are likely hoping for a little win streak to avoid this mess, I hope the rest of you are joining me in rooting for the bedlam and chaos that would occasion a three-way tie.

Astros push ALCS to Game 7 with 7-1 stunner against Yankees

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There’s just something about playing in your home ballpark. The Astros decimated the Yankees at Minute Maid Park on Friday, riding seven scoreless innings from Justin Verlander and a pair of big runs from Jose Altuve to win 7-1 and force a Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

Through the first four innings, however, the teams looked equally matched. Luis Severino no-hit the Astros through 3 2/3 innings, losing his bid on Carlos Correa‘s line drive single in the fourth. The Astros returned in the fifth to do some real damage, drawing two walks and plating the first run of the night with Brian McCann‘s ground-rule double off of the right field wall. Things didn’t get any easier for Severino. Jose Altuve lined a two-RBI base hit into left field, upping Houston’s advantage to three runs.

Verlander, meanwhile, muted the Yankees’ offense with seven innings of five-hit, eight-strikeout ball. While he didn’t come close to matching his complete game effort in Game 2, he was still plenty dominant against a struggling New York lineup. No player reached past first base until the sixth inning, when a pair of base hits from Chase Headley and Didi Gregorius gave the Yankees their first runner in scoring position. That didn’t last long, though, as Gary Sanchez grounded out on a 3-0 slider to end the inning.

In the seventh, Houston’s ace got into another spot of trouble. He walked Greg Bird on six pitches to start the inning, then plunked Starlin Castro on the wrist. Aaron Hicks struck out, in part thanks to a questionable call by home plate umpire Jim Reynolds, but it was Todd Frazier who presented the biggest threat after returning an 0-1 fastball for a 403-foot fly out to left field. Luckily for Verlander, George Springer was there to bail him out with a leaping catch at the wall.

The Yankees kept things exciting in the eighth, too. Aaron Judge ripped his third postseason home run off of Brad Peacock, taking a 425-footer out to the train in left field to spoil the Astros’ shutout. That was the only real break the Yankees got, however, as Altuve, Alex Bregman and Evan Gattis returned in the bottom of the inning to tack on another four runs, including Altuve’s solo shot off of David Robertson:

Ken Giles handled the ninth, expending 23 pitches and giving up a base hit and a walk before retiring Frazier and Headley to end the game. Thanks to Houston’s winning efforts, the two teams will compete in their first seven-game Championship Series since 2004 — and this time, at least one of them is guaranteed to come away with a win.

Game 7 of the ALCS is set for Saturday at 8:00 PM ET. Houston right-hander Charlie Morton (14-7, 3.62 ERA) is scheduled to face southpaw CC Sabathia (14-5, 3.69 ERA).