If the Twins finish in a two-way tie for the final wild-card spot with Houston, those two teams will meet Monday at Target Field. But if the Twins, Houston and the Angels finish in a three-way tie, it’s likely that the Twins will play the first tiebreaking game at Houston on Monday.
Confused? Here’s the key points:
• There are different tiebreakers in the case of a two- or three-way tie for the final spot. A two-way tie goes to head-to-head records of the teams involved first — the Twins and Astros split six games — then to record within their respective division. Edge, Twins, in this tiebreaker.
• A three-way tie determines positioning based on how the three teams fared against one another (Twins record vs. Astros and Angels, Astros record vs. Angels and Twins, Angels record vs. Astros and Twins). Here the edge goes to the Angels, who had a 14-12 record against the other two teams. The Astros were next at 13-12 and the Twins last at 5-8.
• MLB rules give the top team, the Angels, the choice of opening at home and potentially playing two games, or playing just one game on the road. Almost everyone believes the Angels would opt for one road game. If that’s the case …
• The Twins would be at Houston on Monday, because in this scenario MLB uses the three-way tiebreaker (best record against the other two teams) instead of the two-way tiebreaker. The winner of that game would play host to the Angels on Tuesday.
• To review: The Twins play host to Houston if the teams tie for the final wild-card spot, but will probably be at Houston if there’s a three-way tie, pending the Angels’ decision.