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Magic Numbers, Games to Watch, and Tiebreakers 09/25/2013

The Detroit Tigers won, clinched a postseason berth, and can do no worse than force a tiebreaker game against the Indians. Boston lost to Colorado. The A's lost tonight to the Angels. The ALDS home field magic number remains 2 against the Tigers. The ALCS home field magic number is 5 against the Red Sox. A three-team tie for best record in the American League remains just barely possible, but the Athletics would win that tiebreaker, followed by the Tigers, and then the Red Sox.**

The Athletics have 4 games remaining: 1 @ LAA and 3 @ SEA.

Optimal results for the Athletics for Wednesday (all times Pacific):

  • 12:35 PM - Oakland defeats Los Angeles Angels
  • 5:10 PM - Minnesota defeats Detroit (ALDS Home Field = 2)
  • 5:40 PM - Colorado defeats Boston (ALCS Home Field = 5)
  • The Athletics would clinch home field for the ALDS.
  • The magic number for best record in the American League would be 3, Boston and Oakland each having 3 to play.

Magic Number = 163 - A's wins (94) - OppL - 1 if tie breaks to Oakland


ALCS Home Field Advantage

  • 5 for a tie = BOS (L @ COL; 1 @ COL, 3 @ BAL) (Any tie breaks to the A's*: 163 - 94 OAK wins - 63 BOS losses - 1 tiebreaker advantage)

ALDS Home Field Advantage

  • 2 for a tie = DET (W @ MIN; 1 @ MIN, 3 @ MIA) (A's won season series: 163 - 94 OAK wins - 66 DET losses - 1 tiebreaker advantage)

* Tiebreaker with Boston. A tie would be broken in favor of Oakland as follows:

  1. Oakland and Boston tied the season series 3-3.
  2. Better intradivision record: OAK is 42-30 with 4 to play, BOS is 43-30 with 3 to play. The second tiebreaker magic number is 5. Because the only way for the primary magic number to move and this second tiebreaker magic number to not move is Boston losing tomorrow's game to Colorado, the other 4 games to force a tie would reduce this magic number to 1 at worst, requiring resort to the third tiebreaker. If Boston beats Colorado on Wednesday, the 5 games Oakland needs to tie Boston would all be in intradivision play, and so Oakland would win this tiebreaker.
  3. Better intraleague record: OAK is 81-57 with 4 AL games remaining. BOS is 82-57 with 3 AL games remaining. The third tiebreaker magic number is 5. Because this number is the same and is affected in the same way as the intradivision magic number, this can also end in a tie at worst if Boston loses to Colorado tomorrow, requiring resort to the fourth tiebreaker. All other scenarios ending in an overall tie would mean Oakland wins this tiebreaker.
  4. Better record in the last half of intraleague games: There are 142 intraleague games, meaning we look to the final 71 games. OAK is 42-25 with 4 AL games remaining. BOS is 40-28 with 3 AL games remaining. The fourth tiebreaker magic number is 2. Because an overall tie necessarily requires at least 4 Oakland wins and Boston losses to American League teams, this tiebreaker always breaks to Oakland.

** Three-team tie between the Athletics, the Tigers, and the Red Sox. A tie would be broken in favor of Oakland and then Detroit as follows:


The three teams do not have identical records against one another, no club has a better record than the other two, and no two have a better record than the other one:

  • OAK: vs DET (4-3), vs BOS (3-3)
  • DET: vs OAK (3-4), vs BOS (4-3)
  • BOS: vs OAK (3-3), vs DET (3-4)

Therefore, the Clubs will be ranked by their overall winning percentage amongst the other Clubs combined. The Club with the highest overall winning percentage in that group chooses its designation, followed by the team with the next highest overall winning percentage.

  • Oakland is 7-6. Oakland is the #1 seed and has home field throughout the playoffs, including the first round against the wild card team.
  • Detroit is 7-7. Detroit is the #2 seed and has home field advantage over Boston in the Division Series.
  • Boston is 6-7. Boston is the #3 seed.
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