Tie-breaking possibilities for Rays
The Rays have to do a lot of winning over the next week for this to matter, but should they end up tied with the Red Sox or Angels, or should all three finish with the same record, here is what would happen:
If Rays finish tied with Red Sox:
One-game playoff on Thursday, Sept. 29, at Tropicana Field. Rays get homefield advantage due to winning season series, 12-6.
If Rays finish tied with Angels:
One-game playoff on Thursday, Sept. 29, at Tropicana Field. Teams split season series (4-4), but Rays get homefield advantage due to second tiebreaker, which is division record - the Rays are 36-29 vs. AL East teams, the Angels 26-25 vs. West teams.
If Rays, Red Sox and Angels finish in a three-way tie:
There would be two playoff games, one on Thursday, Sept. 29, between two of the teams and then another on Friday, Sept. 30, with the winner of Game 1 and the third team. (As a result, the start of the division series would be pushed back a day.)
The Rays would be the top seed, based on the best record against the other two (16-10), and would have their choice of three scenarios which, in essence, come down to playing two games at home or one game on the road.
There is no doubt they would choose to play the one game, in essence hanging out (maybe somewhere in the middle) and waiting for the Red Sox and Angels to play in Boston - using one of the top pitchers and some of their relievers - and then jetting off to face the winner of that game in their home park.
MLB explains it like this, with the three options designated as A, B and C:
The team with the best combined record among the three – in this case, the Rays – would get to pick whether they want the A, B, or C scenario.
The Red Sox would have the second choice of designation.
The Angels, in this case, would be left with the remaining designation.
Club A = Would have to play two games, but both could be at home
Club B = Would have to play two games, first on the road and, with a win, second at home (note: this is the least appealing of the three options)
Club C = Gets a “bye” so to speak and would have to play one road game.