What happens if multiple teams tie for baseball playoff spots?
Because of the advantage a team gets by winning a division rather than just qualifying as a Wild Card team, a one-game tiebreaker would be necessary if two teams tie for a division title.
That is only likely to occur this year in the N.L. Central as the Cardinals held a two-game lead heading into Saturday's games.
What is more likely, however, is that multiple teams will tie for one of the two A.L. Wild Card spots, including possibly the Royals.
If only two teams finish with the same record for both Wild Card spots, then the one-game Wild Card game is played with no tiebreaker necessary. If one team (say Tampa Bay) has a better record than two other teams that tie for the second position, those two teams would play a one-game playoff before the winner would go to Tampa Bay for the official Wild Card game.
If there are three teams tied for one position, teams are first seeded based primarily on head-to-head games. The team with the best seeding will choose whether it would play two playoff games (where it would be the host for both) or play only the second playoff game on the road at the site of the first playoff winner.
Four teams for one spot? Thats easy. Two semifinal playoff games (at the higher seeds) on one day, with the winners meeting the next.
Assuming the Royals don't win the first Wild Card, here is how Kansas City would stand on tiebreaking scenarios with other contenders:
The Royals would be seeded higher than the Orioles and Rays, and behind the Yankees and Indians. Their season series with the Rangers is tied 2-2 after Friday's game.