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Magic Numbers, Games to Watch, and Tiebreakers 09/26/2013 and 09/27/2013

It could not have gone any worse for the Athletics in Wednesday's games to watch. The Detroit Tigers won and clinched the AL Central. The Boston Red Sox pummeled the Colorado Rockies on Todd Helton's final game at Coors Field. Helton himself had a pretty decent night, driving in 3 of Colorado's 5 runs. Too bad Boston had 15.

The Athletics still have a magic number of 2 for home field in the ALDS, and 5 for home field in the ALCS. The tragic number for home field in the ALCS is 2 Boston victories or Oakland defeats. A three-team tie remains possible, and the tie would break in favor of Oakland and then Detroit.**


The Athletics have 3 games remaining against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. Detroit goes to Marlins Park for 3 against the Miami Marlins, and Boston goes to Camden Yards at Oriole Park for 3 against the Baltimore Orioles. Everyone is off on Thursday.

Optimal results for the Athletics for Thursday:

  • Re-introduce yourself to your family. You may be gone for awhile during the postseason.

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

  • 4:05 PM - Baltimore defeats Boston (ALCS Home Field = 5) (Buchholz, BOS v. Feldman, BAL)
  • 4:10 PM - Miami defeats Detroit (ALDS Home Field = 2) (Porcello, DET v. Koehler, MIA)
  • 7:10 PM - Oakland defeats Seattle (Colon, OAK v. Hernandez, F., SEA
  • 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 2 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 (W @ 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; 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 42-31 with 3 to play, BOS is 43-30 with 3 to play. The second tiebreaker magic number is 5. Because Oakland needs 5 wins or Boston losses in intradivision play to tie Boston overall anyway, Oakland necessarily would win this tiebreaker.

** 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 postseason, 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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