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Padres, Giants, & Braves, Oh My!

Posted by Steve Lombardi on October 3, 2010

Paul White of USA Today breaks down what's going on with these three teams today -

The Padres, Giants and Atlanta Braves have a chance to set up baseball's first three-way tiebreaker.

What happens to the NL West and wild card races today if:

•Giants beat Padres; Phillies beat Braves: San Francisco wins West; San Diego plays at Atlanta on Monday to decide wild card.
•Giants beat Padres; Braves beat Phillies: San Francisco wins West; Atlanta wins wild card.
•Padres beat Giants; Phillies beat Braves: San Diego wins West based on head-to-head record against San Francisco; San Francisco wins wild card.
•Padres beat Giants; Braves beat Phillies: San Francisco plays at San Diego on Monday to decide West; loser of Monday game plays at Atlanta on Tuesday to decide wild card.

Unless you're a Giants fan, how could you not be rooting for the Padres and Braves today? Those two winning would make for some swell baseball games after this weekend, and before the NLDS, no?

22 Responses to “Padres, Giants, & Braves, Oh My!”

  1. Dan Franzen Says:

    "Unless you're a Giants fan, how could you not be rooting for the Padres and Braves today?"

    ... or a Phillies fan!

  2. Devin Ensing Says:

    Given that the probability of any team winning any game is 0.5 (reasonable, but maybe not entirely accurate), the Giants have a 15/16 chance of making the playoffs, the Padres have a 9/16 chance of making the playoffs, and the Braves have a 8/16 chance of making the playoffs. So the Giants are all but guaranteed a spot, while the Padres have a slight edge over the Braves because they can still win the NL West. Should be interesting

  3. Robert Says:

    Dan a Phillies fan should be drooling for this scenario. While your boys kick back tomorrow and Tuesday they'll conceivably watch what should have been two off days disappear. Let's say this happens. Whoever loses the west tomorrow flies to Atlanta and plays the Braves. If they win that game they are the wild card and head to Philly with 0 days rest and 0 chance to set a rotation for Halladay, Oswalt, Hamels. Even if Atlanta wins you may get the winner of the west with one less day off than otherwise. Lose a battle to win the war. Though I doubt the Phillies need their opponent worn down to get through this round (or the next).

  4. Ian W. Says:

    I'm rooting for the Padres and the Phillies to win. My ideal playoff scenario has the Giants and Padres both making it. It'll be easier if we don't have to go through a tiebreaker game.

  5. DavidRF Says:

    Correct, the Phillies have already picked Wednesday as the starting day for their series (the other NLDS starts on Thursday). So the extra playoff scenario could potentially involve a team flying from SF to SD on Sunday night, flying from SD to ATL on Monday night and flying from ATL to PHI on Tuesday night. The Wednesday game could start at 11:30 AM, too (though I hope TBS has mercy and gives them at least the 3 PM start).

  6. Tudor Fever Says:

    Devin: actually, the reason that the Padres have a slightly higher chance than the Braves is that, in the three-way tiebreaker scenario, the Padres would have two chances to win one game, while the Braves would have only one chance.

  7. Dan Franzen Says:

    I feel that it doesn't matter who the Phillies play, with the roll they've been on.

    I just really despise the Braves and their stupid fairweather, chop-happy tools of fans.

  8. barkfart Says:

    # 7 Dan Frenzen

    "chop-happy tools". That was awesome.

    I don't hate the Braves, I just love how the two most important teams to any baseball fan are the team they love most and the team they hate most. The other 28 are a long way off the chart.

  9. Malcolm Says:

    I know the Phillies don't have to worry at this point, but I would LOVE to see them knock the Braves out of contention, considering we've been chasing them all year, everyone is all worked up about Bobby Cox' final season, Phillies haters have been jumping on the Atlanta bandwagon all year, and the stupid Braves kept winning our division EVERY SEASON for a full decade, so its pretty hard to have any sympathy for them.

    THat being said, the Braves are really taking it to the Phils right now, so it isn't looking like that's going to happen. Oh well. Go get 'em Padres.

  10. Richard Says:

    @ 3
    The scenario only helps the Phillies if the Braves lose their 163rd game. There is no way the Phils can play the West team otherwise cause CIN will have a worse record.

  11. Richard Says:

    Padres/Giants hold em over CIN

  12. Al Says:

    "Padres beat Giants; Braves beat Phillies: San Francisco plays at San Diego on Monday to decide West; loser of Monday game plays at Atlanta on Tuesday to decide wild card."

    How can there be two playoff games? After the Giants and Padres play on Monday, the loser would be 1/2 game behind the Braves thereby making the Braves the wildcard winner.

    One-game playoffs, as we all know, count as regular season games.

  13. kingcrab Says:

    good point.

    i love epic collapses and epic wins, the giants losing 5 games in a row to miss the playoffs (3 to end the season and 2 one-game playoff games) would probably be the biggest collapse in baseball history. move over mets and phillies...

  14. Brendan Burke Says:

    There would be a second one-game playoff, since the rule for that changed in 1997. Of course, it seems to be irrelevant now.

  15. cotton nero Says:

    Al 12: Not so. The rules specifically state that the first tiebreaker does not count for purposes of determining record for wild-card eligibility:

    Scenario #5: If three Clubs in a League are tied with identical winning percentages at the end of the championship season and two of those tied Clubs are from the same Division and are also tied for first place in that Division and the third tied Club has the highest winning percentage among the second-place Clubs in the remaining two Divisions, the Division Champion shall first be determined by a one-game playoff on Monday, September 29. Any playoff games played to determine a Division champion shall not count in determining which Clubs are deemed tied for a Wild Card designation. Clubs that were originally tied with a Club or Clubs for a Wild Card designation shall still be considered tied.

  16. John Autin Says:

    Well, we didn't get the wild 3-way tie, alas.

    Looking back at some recent seasons, I found one that could have had an even wilder post-regular-season finish. In 2000, the last day began with Oakland atop the AL West at 90-70, Seattle 1/2 game back at 90-71, and Cleveland at 89-72 trailing Seattle by 1 game for the wild card. Had Cleveland won and the others both lost, the Indians and Mariners would have been tied for the wild card at 90-72, and the A's would have been 90-71. The A's would then have had to play a makeup game with Tampa Bay; and if they lost, there would have been a 3-way tie necessitating the same 2-playoff-game scenario that was possible today.

    But all the tangled possibilities came to naught. Cleveland did win, but so did the A's and Mariners. Oakland did not even have to play that makeup game -- because even if they had played it and lost, winding up tied with Seattle for the division lead, the recent rule change said that such ties are no longer settled on the field when the loser of such a divisional playoff would wind up as the wild card.

  17. John Autin Says:

    In 2005, the final weekend began with Cleveland at 93-66, 3 games behind the 96-63 White Sox, and tied with Boston in the wild card race, while the Red Sox trailed the Yankees by 1 game for the AL East. And both pairs of division foes would face one another in the final series.

    The possibilities were too many to list. The White Sox had clinched the division, having already won the season series with Cleveland. But Cleveland could have secured at least a tie for the wild card by winning 2 of 3 or winning at least as many as Boston did. And if they and Boston had both won exactly 2 of 3, there would have been 3-way tie among Cleveland, New York and Boston, triggering the 2-playoff-game scenario. The Red Sox needed a sweep to win the division outright, since otherwise the Yankees would have won their season series.

    Instead, the Indians got swept by the White Sox. Boston won 2 of 3 to finish with the same record as New York, but the Yankees still won the division. (Of course, those teams would meet again soon, with historic results.)

  18. John Autin Says:

    The 2007 NL had numerous possibilities going into the final day. The Mets and Phils were tied in the East at 88-73. Arizona led the West at 90-71, with San Diego 1 back at 89-72 (in sole possession of the wild card) and the surging Rockies at 88-73. Colorado's final game was against Arizona, while the others played noncontenders.

    Wins by Colorado, Philly and New York, combined with a San Diego loss, would have left all 4 teams at 89-73, with Philly and New York tied for their division. Without looking up the rule, I *think* there would have been a Phils-Mets playoff for the division, with the loser sent into a 3-way playoff for the wild card.

    In the event, Colorado and Philly won and San Diego lost, but the Mets got shellacked by Florida. (Not that I bitterly recall Tom Glavine giving up 7 runs in the 1st inning, or anything....) Philly won the East, and the Rockies and Padres played off for the wild card.

  19. John Autin Says:

    Going back before divisions, the 1967 AL race had a wild finish. In the final week, 4 teams were within 1.5 games of 1st place, and 3 were still alive going into the final day. Boston and Minnesota were tied at 91-70 and would play each other, while the Tigers were 90-70 with a doubleheader against the Angels. Boston won their showdown behind Jim Lonborg and a 5-run rally in the 6th, clinching a share of the pennant. Detroit won the first game and had an early 3-1 lead in the nightcap, but the Angels rallied off Denny McLain, John Hiller and a young Mike Marshall to take an 8-3 lead; the Tigers got the tying run to the plate with 1 out in the 9th, but Dick McAuliffe -- who had hit 22 HRs that year while grounding into just 1 DP (and would go all the next year without one) -- bounced into a 4-6-3 DP, and Boston had their "Impossible Dream" pennant.

  20. John Autin Says:

    P.S. @19 -- Does anyone know what the playoff rules were for a 3-team or 4-team tie in the pre-division era? It never happened, of course.

  21. Larry R. Says:

    @12, 15

    I was wondering the same thing. This is an invention of the wild card era. What Al says was true "in the old days". Playoff games to determine winners were regular season games. I'm not sure why they changed would have made the Monday Giants-Padres game extra-exciting, IMO.

  22. Fireworks Says:

    @21 Larry R

    Playoff games are still regular season games, however, it would be unfair to have three teams tied for two postseason spots and then have any of them somehow 'win' the tiebreaker without playing a game. Consider it this way:

    Say the Padres and Braves had won. The Padres and Giants would have been tied for the division title, while all three teams would've been tied for the wild card. First you decide the division title, then you decide the wild card. That the loser of the divisional playoff is now a half-game back of Atlanta is irrelevant; the tie exists after 162 games and the playoff games afterward, while still regular season games, serve only to break the tie.