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Relevant magic numbers with tiebreakers accounted for


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I will elaborate on my three-team tie scenario from the post above. I think Cleveland may run the table for the rest of the regular season. First and foremost, they start Bieber and Plesac vs. the White Sox in the next two games, then they play Pittsburgh to close out the reason. Secondly, no one can get Ramirez out right now when it counts. Winning out would give Cleveland 36 wins. When Chicago finishes with Cleveland, they get the Cubs, who probably need a win or two to sew up their division. I doubt the White Sox sweep the Cubs, but if the Sox get two wins that would also give them 36 wins total. The Twins have only four games left, beating Detroit tonight and winning one or two versus Cincy gets them to 36-37, which might be enough.

 

It would also be nice if the Twins could wrap up the tiebreaker versus New York, in the still likely case that they play the Yankees in the first round. Given both the Twins and the Yankees' home records this year, it would be an advantage to play the Bronx Bombers at home. The Yankee opponents the rest of the way have plenty to play for, both Toronto and Miami have solid shots of getting in, but haven't clinched. 

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Also, if the three teams in the Central tie, that the Twins win the tiebreaker, with Cleveland second and the White Sox third?

According to mlb.com: "If all of the tied clubs are in the same division and have, therefore, played against each other, then the team with the highest winning percentage in games among those three clubs is the top seed, followed by the team with the second-highest winning percentage in those games and then the third-highest."

 

The Twins are 12-8; the best Cleveland can do is 11-9; the best Chicago can do is 9-11 (if I have copied results correctly). Chicago could tie Cleveland for 2nd by winning the next two games.

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The Twins are 12-8; the best Cleveland can do is 11-9; the best Chicago can do is 9-11 (if I have copied results correctly). Chicago could tie Cleveland for 2nd by winning the next two games.

If Chicago wins the last two games, they will clinch a better record than Cleveland, as will the Twins. 

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Am I right that the Twins hold the tiebreaker over the Yankees if Toronto (Buffalo) wins the next two games while Minnesota beats Detroit?

You are right. In that case, both MIN and NYY would have 23-17 divisional records, so the tiebreaker would move to the next criteria: last 20 games divisional record. There, the Twins would be 12-8 and the Yankees 11-9. (Had they been tied in that too, it would move to last 21 games divisional record, then last 22, etc.)

 

But if the Yankees win just one of these next 2 vs Toronto, they will have the better divisional record and hold the tiebreaker over the Twins (although they may still trail the Twins, which would render the tiebreaker moot).

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Done. I wonder what the odds are now for Chicago and the Twins to win the division.

 

If NY loses tomorrow, the Twins host a 4-5 series with the Yankees, correct? One more Twins victory clinches at least second place. If the Twins, Sox and Cleveland all tie at 36-24, the Twins win the Central.

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Done. I wonder what the odds are now for Chicago and the Twins to win the division.

 

If NY loses tomorrow, the Twins host a 4-5 series with the Yankees, correct? One more Twins victory clinches at least second place. If the Twins, Sox and Cleveland all tie at 36-24, the Twins win the Central.

Fangraphs now has Twins at 51.5% to win the division, White Sox at 46.2%.

 

And you are correct, Yankees losing Thursday would be enough to secure home field over them, because the Yankees could then do no better than tie the Twins and the Twins would hold the divisional record tiebreaker.

 

And yup, one more Twins win clinches at least 2nd in the central. (Although if we went 1-2, and Yankees win out 4-0, we could still be 5th seed.)

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The Yankees threw Cole on Tuesday, presumably to get him ready for the 1st round playoff series.

 

Then they threw Tanaka last night, and, it didn't go well.  Montgomery tonight to stop the bleeding.

 

The Whities threw Giolito last night and are throwing Keuchel tonight.

 

There are not a lot of quality SP left for the lead teams who have arranged their pitching rotations to fit the playoffs.  Including the Twins, who might start Berrios on Friday, but for how many pitches?  And the same with Big Mike on Saturday.  Or, will they split Friday's game by throwing both?

 

So, anything can happen over the weekend and likely will. 

 

If Twins win Division, then we get Cleveland and Bieber in the 1st round?  And that's better than Cole and the Yanks at home?  Guess so.

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If Twins win Division, then we get Cleveland and Bieber in the 1st round?  And that's better than Cole and the Yanks at home?  Guess so.

 

It is also entirely possible that the Twins could draw the Astros if they win the division.  It would all depend on whether they end up as the 2 seed or 3 seed.  They are ever so slightly behind Oakland for the 2 spot at the moment.

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It is also entirely possible that the Twins could draw the Astros if they win the division.  It would all depend on whether they end up as the 2 seed or 3 seed.  They are ever so slightly behind Oakland for the 2 spot at the moment.

We'd have to pass Oakland entirely, as Oakland will hold the tiebreaker against us (better divisional record), but it's possible. Magic number of 5 (any combination of Twins wins or Oakland losses to equal 5).

 

Oakland has 1 more game with the Dodgers tonight, then 4 at home with Seattle including a doubleheader Saturday. The doubleheader should be a good opportunity for an Oakland loss, it can be hard to sweep.

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Lots of discussion about home field v. the Yankees.

 

If the Twins win the division, they won't face the Yankees until the 3rd round, if ever. Plus, all of these games are on the road for everybody. All of the AL games will be played in SoCal; all of the NL games will be played in Texas.

 

They Twins are now in first place and if they take 2 out the 3 remaining games they will win the division.

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We'd have to pass Oakland entirely, as Oakland will hold the tiebreaker against us (better divisional record), but it's possible. Magic number of 5 (any combination of Twins wins or Oakland losses to equal 5).

 

Oakland has 1 more game with the Dodgers tonight, then 4 at home with Seattle including a doubleheader Saturday. The doubleheader should be a good opportunity for an Oakland loss, it can be hard to sweep.

 

Actually, I believe the Twins have to stay *behind* Oakland.  The Astros will almost certainly slot in as the 6 seed (worst record among 2nd place finishers).  The #3 seed (worst record among division winners) will play the 6-seeded Astros.  If the season ended today (pasted from ESPN):

 

AMERICAN LEAGUE
No. 1 Rays* vs. No. 8 Blue Jays
No. 2 Athletics* vs. No. 7 Indians*
No. 3 Twins* vs. No. 6 Astros
No. 4 White Sox* vs. No. 5 Yankees*

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Twins v Toronto is still a good possibility. 

 

I presume Toronto is the team every other team is hoping to play though.

 

If the Twins do get stuck with Bieber and Cleveland, it wouldn't be my favorite outcome, however, Bieber has only given up 14 ER all season but 5 of them were against Minnesota, so the Twins may be the last team Cleveland wants to face.

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Lots of discussion about home field v. the Yankees.

 

If the Twins win the division, they won't face the Yankees until the 3rd round, if ever. Plus, all of these games are on the road for everybody. All of the AL games will be played in SoCal; all of the NL games will be played in Texas.

Not *all* of the games -- the first "wild card" round will be at the home ballpark of the #1-4 seeds. So home field could be pretty important for that round! (After that round, the higher seed will get to bat last more often in the bubble games, which could be a slight advantage too.)

 

 

They Twins are now in first place and if they take 2 out the 3 remaining games they will win the division.

Not quite. We are even with the White Sox in the loss column at 22, and the White Sox hold the two-way tiebreaker over us, so they can still control their own destiny -- if the White Sox win out, it doesn't matter what the Twins or Cleveland does, Chicago will win the division. Similarly, if the White Sox go 3-1 and the Twins finish 2-1, Chicago will also win the division.

 

Cleveland (24 losses) could come into play if the Twins or White Sox lose 2 or more of their remaining games.

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Twins v Toronto is still a good possibility. 

I don't know about "good possibility" -- Toronto is very likely to be the 8th seed, as they are 3 games behind #7 Cleveland with just 4 to play. Cleveland's magic number over Toronto is down to just 2. Toronto does have the benefit of playing the Orioles for the final 3 games but Cleveland gets to face Pittsburgh.

 

Similarly, the Twins are 2 games back of Tampa Bay for the #1 seed, with only 3 to play. Tampa also has the tiebreak over the Twins and White Sox, so basically Tampa Bay's magic number for the #1 seed over both teams is down to 1.

 

 

If the Twins do get stuck with Bieber and Cleveland, it wouldn't be my favorite outcome, however, Bieber has only given up 14 ER all season but 5 of them were against Minnesota, so the Twins may be the last team Cleveland wants to face.

Yeah, familiarity would be a benefit vs Cleveland or Chicago too (but that could also work against the Twins pitchers).

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Lots of discussion about home field v. the Yankees.

 

If the Twins win the division, they won't face the Yankees until the 3rd round, if ever. Plus, all of these games are on the road for everybody. All of the AL games will be played in SoCal; all of the NL games will be played in Texas.

 

They Twins are now in first place and if they take 2 out the 3 remaining games they will win the division.

 

The Twins only control their own destiny vis a vis winning the division if the White Sox lose tonight (Thursday).  Even if they do, the Twins can only be guaranteed a division title if they sweep.  However many games the Twins lose this weekend is how many the White Sox would have to lose for the Twins to win the Central.

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After Thursday's games, here's how things seem to stand:

 

1. Tampa Bay: 37-20. Could finish 1, 2, 3.

2. Minnesota: 35-22. Could finish 1, 2, 3, 4, 7

3. Oakland: Could finish 1, 2, 3.

4. Chicago: Could finish 2, 3, 4, 5, 7.

5. New York: Could finish 4, 5, 7, 8.

6. Houston: Could finish 6 or not make playoffs.

7. Cleveland: Could finish 2, 3, 4, 5, 7.

8. Toronto: Could finish 5, 6, 8. 

x. Los Angeles: Could finish 6 or not make playoffs. 

 

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The Twins are a half game ahead of Oakland, so one could also say that their magic number over Oakland is 3. 

Not quite -- they are still even in the loss column and Oakland holds the tiebreaker over the Twins, so Oakland controls its own destiny for the #2 seed. If Oakland wins out, the best the Twins or any AL Central team can be is the #3 seed.

 

Of course, some here have suggested that the Twins may prefer the #3 seed (and facing the Astros in the first round) over the #2 seed (and facing either Cleveland or Chicago again).

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After Thursday's games, here's how things seem to stand:

 

1. Tampa Bay: 37-20. Could finish 1, 2, 3.

2. Minnesota: 35-22. Could finish 1, 2, 3, 4, 7

3. Oakland: Could finish 1, 2, 3.

4. Chicago: Could finish 2, 3, 4, 5, 7.

5. New York: Could finish 4, 5, 7, 8.

6. Houston: Could finish 6 or not make playoffs.

7. Cleveland: Could finish 2, 3, 4, 5, 7.

8. Toronto: Could finish 5, 6, 8. 

x. Los Angeles: Could finish 6 or not make playoffs. 

That seems about right, but I think Toronto is 5, 7, 8. (They can't finish 2nd unless they pass NYY, at which point it would be impossible for HOU to catch them too.)

 

But 1 more loss, and TOR will be locked into the #8 seed.

 

Another close "magic number":

 

1 more win for TB, or 1 loss for each of MIN and OAK, and TB is guaranteed the #1 seed.

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Should be interesting playing a team we hardly ever play for our final 3 games. Cincy is red hot and fighting for a playoff spot. Falvey aside (he says none of this seeding matters) I think Twins want to win the division...and they want to go into post season playing well...not just going thru the motions or resting players unnecessarily. In pro sports, you should always play to win, all the time., 'losing' to win is just not right IMO.

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Of course, some here have suggested that the Twins may prefer the #3 seed (and facing the Astros in the first round) over the #2 seed (and facing either Cleveland or Chicago again).

 

In the context of this season, I don't mind the expanded playoffs. But I wish they seeded all the non-division winners by straight W-L record. It seems kind of not right that Houston holds a higher seed than two teams with better records by virtue of finishing second in a weak division.

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In the context of this season, I don't mind the expanded playoffs. But I wish they seeded all the non-division winners by straight W-L record. It seems kind of not right that Houston holds a higher seed than two teams with better records by virtue of finishing second in a weak division.

You're not alone in that take, but with the extreme unbalanced schedules of 2020, these determinations may not be so clear.

 

Yes, Houston got 7 games against Texas, the worst record in the AL, but for example, teams in the AL Central got to play Pittsburgh, the worst record in the NL (Twins had them for 4 games). Houston also had to play 7 games vs LAD and SD, both of whom currently have better records than any team on the Twins schedule.

 

I won't dispute that Houston is probably weaker than the 3rd place team in the central, but they might actually be better than Toronto despite a slightly worse record -- B-Ref's "SRS" (Simple Rating System) puts HOU at 0.0 and TOR at -0.3.

 

And straight W-L record wouldn't necessarily be any more fair -- a really good top-to-bottom division would cluster around .500, while an average-ish team in a worse division could pad their W-L record to look better.

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Interesting stuff with the tiebreakers. For example, Chicago is in actuality less than a game behind the Twins. If they gain a game, they are ahead of Minnesota. On the flip side, they lead Cleveland by less than a game. Same script, different characters. 

 

I don't know if the Twins really want to face one team over another, but winning the division would seem to be a worthwhile goal, guaranteeing a home first round playoff series. I would expect Oakland garners the #2 seed and Tampa nets the #1, but it wouldn't surprise me if Chicago grabbed #3 from the Twins. 

 

 

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