There is little over a month left in the MLB regular season and it’s been a wild ride. The Tampa Bay Rays started the year as the number 1 team in the AL East until being struck by the injury bug. The New York Yankees overtook them at the end of May while dealing with injuries however their depth provided them with the momentum to slingshot into the division lead and haven’t looked back. Now, the Rays are battling with the Cleveland Indians and Oakland Athletics for 1 of 2 Wild Card spots.
As it sits in the current standings, the Rays are a half game back from the Indians and a half game up on the A’s. Using our “tie” system you’d see the Rays and Indians are tied with 77.5 points with the A’s at 75 points. That’s a 2.5 point difference for the A’s who could bounce the Rays on 1 game but would have to make up the ground in a series to make the playoffs under our system.
In the NL scenario, the Atlanta Braves sit 6 games in front of the Nationals for the NL East, the St. Louis Cardinals are 2.5 games up on the Chicago Cubs, and the Philadelphia Phillies, Milwaukee Brewers, New York Mets, and San Francisco Giants are all in striking distance of the final Wild Card spot. These areas are where we see the biggest difference in what ties could bring to baseball.
If we use our TOSS model here we’ll notice some distinctive differences. In the NL East, The Braves would hold a 2.5 game lead on the Nationals. The Cubs would have a game lead over the St. Louis Cardinals for the division and the Cardinals would narrowly edge the Mets out of the 2nd Wild Card spot using Extra Inning Wins as the tiebreaker. Finally, the San Francisco Giants would not even be close to a playoff spot sitting 9 games back of the 2nd WC spot.
See the below TOSS Chart as your reference:
|Los Angeles Dodgers (NL West Champ)||85.5|
|New York Yankees (AL East Champ)||83|
|Houston Astros (AL West Champ)||82.5|
|Minnesota Twins (AL Central Champ)||80|
|Tampa Bay Rays (AL WC)||77.5|
|Cleveland Indians (AL WC)||77.5|
|Atlanta Braves (NL East Champ)||77|
|Washington Nationals (NL WC)||74.5|
|Chicago Cubs (NL Central Champ)||70|
|New York Mets (loses tiebreaker with 5-9 Extra Inning Record)||69|
|St. Louis Cardinals (NL WC – Tiebreaker with 7-3 Extra Inning Record)||69|
|Boston Red Sox||68|
|Los Angeles Angels||65|
|San Diego Padres||62|
|San Francisco Giants||60|
|Chicago White Sox||59|
|Toronto Blue Jays||54.5|
|Kansas City Royals||48.5|
One of the biggest differences between these standings and the TOSS Extra Inning Table is that Extra Inning Wins do not count as much as a win in real life and therefore a team like the San Francisco Giants can have a 12-2 Extra Inning Record but the points would not reflect the 12 wins they won on off-day relief pitchers.
The Atlanta Braves would also be hurt from having an 11-5 Extra Inning record and therefore the extra boost from the 11 wins get cut in half, basically, and shortens the lead in the division race. St. Louis’s 7 wins to the Cubs 4 wins come into play as the Cubs also lost 2 extra games in extras than the Cardinals making the race an even more interesting one.
Eventually the MLB should look to adopt ties to help “speed up” the regular season and avoid unnecessary wear and tear on the players over the 162 game grind. It would cut down on arm usage for bullpen guys and guys would know if they were going to be used in certain games or not depending on starting pitcher innings and recent usage in games.
However, if there is too much backlash from adding ties, I would love to see the MLB adopt a system to weigh Extra Inning Wins and Losses differently from regulation (9 inning) wins and losses. Mainly because an extra inning win in the 15th inning against a guy who’s pitch 2 straight days already is basically a handicap and not really an accurate depiction of how evenly matched the game was.
Here are a few other Tables using Soccer-Style Scoring and Hockey-Style Scoring:
|Los Angeles Dodgers (NL West Champ)||253|
|New York Yankees (AL East Champ)||245|
|Houston Astros (AL West Champ)||242|
|Minnesota Twins (AL Central Champ)||235|
|Cleveland Indians (AL WC)||227|
|Tampa Bay Rays (AL WC)||226|
|Atlanta Braves (NL East Champ)||223|
|Washington Nationals (NL WC)||219|
|Chicago Cubs (NL Central Champ)||205|
|St. Louis Cardinals (NL WC)||202|
|New York Mets||200|
|Boston Red Sox||197|
|Los Angeles Angels||191|
|San Diego Padres||182|
|Chicago White Sox||174|
|San Francisco Giants||173|
|Toronto Blue Jays||157|
|Kansas City Royals||139|
- Note that the Cardinals would not need a tiebreaker to overtake the Mets for the 2nd Wild Card spot.
|Los Angeles Dodgers (NL West Champ)||175|
|Houston Astros (AL West Champ)||173|
|New York Yankees (AL East Champ)||172|
|Atlanta Braves (NL East Champ)||165|
|Minnesota Twins (AL Central Champ)||164|
|Tampa Bay Rays (AL WC)||160|
|Cleveland Indians (AL WC)||159|
|Washington Nationals (NL WC)||152|
|Boston Red Sox||145|
|St. Louis Cardinals (NL Central Champ)||145|
|Chicago Cubs (NL WC)||144|
|New York Mets||143|
|Los Angeles Angels||132|
|San Francisco Giants||132|
|San Diego Padres||126|
|Chicago White Sox||122|
|Toronto Blue Jays||114|
|Kansas City Royals||101|
- Note here the St. Louis Cardinals win the division by 1 point.
- The Atlanta Braves move from the 7th overall team to the 4th.
- The San Francisco Giants wouldn’t even be close to the playoffs in these scenarios and thus probably would’ve viewed themselves as sellers at the trade deadline and Madison Bumgarner and Will Smith would’ve probably moved to a 2019 contender.