The Wild Card races are super heated with the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays being tied for the AL Wild Card while the Atlanta Braves and the St. Louis Cardinals are tied for the NL Wild Card. In an unprecedented manner, we may see TWO one game playoffs to decide who makes it into the Postseason and who goes home. I guess if we see a tie to end the season, it would be a prelude of what might end up happening with the proposed extra Wild Card team in each league possibly starting next season.
There have been three occasions where there has been a tie for the Wild Card at seasons end. All three have occurred in the National League.
- In 1998, the Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants were tied with a 90-73 record. The Cubs would defeat the Giants by a score of 5-3 to face the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS.
- In the next season, the New York Mets and the Cincinnati Reds were tied with a 97-66 record. The Mets would defeat the Reds 5-0 on a two-hit complete game shutout by Al Leiter to face the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NLDS.
- In 2007, the Colorado Rockies and the San Diego Padres tied with a 90-73 record. The Rockies defeated the Padres in a thrilling 13-inning game by a score of 9-8 with the Rockies scoring 3 runs in the bottom of the 13th to win the game after the Padres took a two run lead in the top of the 13th. The red-hot Rockies would defeat the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLDS and the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NLCS before losing to the Boston Red Sox in the World Series.
MLB has announced the schedule for the potential tie-breaker match-ups if the Wild Card participants remain tied after tomorrow's games. The Tampa Bay Rays would host the Boston Red Sox at 4:07pm and the St. Louis Cardinals will host the Atlanta Braves at 8:07pm. The home team was determined by the head-to-head wins and losses, The Rays decisively led the season series against the Red Sox 12-6 while the Cardinals led the season series against the Braves 5-1.
The amazing part of this historic scenario is that both the Red Sox and Braves squandered decisive Wild Card leads heading into September. The Rays trailed Boston by nine games while the Braves has a 8.5-game lead on September 1st. The ending to the 2011 season is shaping up quite nicely. Here's to hoping for those two tie-breaker games on Thursday.
PS: Thanks goes to Melvin Nivar for planting the seed for this post. Once he mentioned I should write it, I couldn't help myself.