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MLB Game 163 Rules Explained

By Aditya Bhattarai / 28 September 2023 10:29 AM

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MLB Game 163 rules denoted the tiebreaker game between two teams for postseason qualification. This practice came to an end after the playoff expansion in 2022.

Game 163 was the alternative term used for the match played by the teams when they had the same record in a division or Wild Card rankings. The winning team would then advance to the postseason series that year.

Major League Baseball used these tie-breaking procedures to decide on the teams heading to the postseason and their seeding order. Multiple team ties were resolved using different order procedures.

However, the MLB removed the tiebreaker round starting from 2022. They adapted to a mathematical form of analysis using the winning percentage of the teams in the games they played against each other over the season.

These specific outcomes would determine their final standing and seeding process for the playoffs. It was implemented by the League to save time and begin playing the postseason without any delays to the teams that clinched the division with a bye.

Game 163 Rules In Baseball

Game 163 was the additional match between two teams that had identical scores in a division or Wild Card. It was a one game playoff to determine the winner.

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A regular MLB season had a total of 162 games so the tiebreaker at the end of the season was counted as 163. It became the official term in the league till the rule was removed in 2022.

Home-field advantage was given on the basis of their head-to-head winning percentage in the first or second half of the season. The season had to extend further depending on the number of tied teams.

This tradition followed different patterns to determine the winning postseason candidate for ties among two, three, and four teams. While one game was enough for a two-team tie, the number of games increases as the number of tying teams goes up.

For ties between three and four teams, two of them will be playing in the first round followed by the second game between the winning team to another remaining team. It goes on until the final winner is decided for playing the postseason.

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A single extra game would require the whole umpire crew to engage even after the season ends. The broadcasting rights and TV crews would also undergo an additional negotiation with the MLB.

While these supplementary games took more time to finish the season, the official division champions with a bye and Wild Card winners had to wait for more time before the postseason games began. Considering the time spent, MLB decided to remove the system after the playoff expansion in 2022.

The rule of playing Game 163 was replaced by deciding on the winning team using statistical values from their head-to-head competition over the regular season.

MLB Playoff Tie Game Rules 2023

MLB Tie Game Rules 2023 compares the regular season records to decide on the winning team. The first measure is tallying their head-to-head win rates.

If the results are still tied then the difference will be analyzed over the intradivsion and intraleague overall records. There are five measures finalized for the selection process.

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MLB tiebreaker games took place between the teams tied in season records and winning percentage till 2022. The league compares the overall record now.

After the addition of a third wild card berth in both leagues starting in 2022, the playoff contention allows 12 teams to reach the postseason series. MLB decided to remove the one-game playoff to compensate for the extended postseason.

Here are the new rules to finalize a tie between two teams after the introduction of 12-team playoffs;

  • Higher head-to-head winning percentage between the two teams in regular season games.
  • Higher overall record over the season amongst intradivision teams of the same league.
  • Higher overall record among the intraleague teams.
  • Best record in the second half pertaining to the last 81 games of the season among intraleague teams.
  • Best record obtained in the second half plus one additional game among the intraleague teams.

If the teams are still tied after following through the above five steps, then coin tosses and drawing of lots are used to determine the winner. Likewise, champions from different divisions with the same records are also seeded in the playoffs following the five steps above.

Additionally, if more than two teams are tied with the same season record, then they are further analyzed by comparing their specific game records with each other. 

Here are the five steps used in deciding the winning team in 3-team and 4-team ties;

  • Ranking the win-loss record by each team against the other tied teams.
  • Comparing win rates against all the tied teams
  • Comparing winning percentages against the intradivision teams
  • Comparing the win rates obtained in the latter half against the intraleague teams
  • Adding the win rates in the most recent intraleague game apart from the tied teams until one team has a higher rate.

If only a few of the teams get tied again in any of the previous steps, then those teams will begin the process differently from the start. After the rule change in 2022, the teams are not designated for the above tie-breaking process.

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One club leading in record against the other teams during any of the five steps becomes qualified for the postseason. They will use the previous two-club tiebreaker system if only two of them remain tied at any step.

The overall winning percentage can also be used between three clubs with the one having the highest win rate becoming the winning qualifier. If two teams remain tied, they will follow the two-team tiebreaker while the three-team tie will follow the best intradivision and intraleague records to decide the winner.

How Do Extra Innings Work In Baseball?

Extra innings begin when two teams are tied after completing the regular nine innings. These additional rounds will keep increasing until one of them wins.

The innings are divided into two half-innings along with all other rules remaining intact as compared to a regular inning. The visiting team is the first in the first half while the home team takes turn in the second half.

The game will continue until the visiting team scores more runs than the home team in that inning. It can also finish when the home team scores a winning run before the inning ends.

How Many Games In MLB Season 2023?

There are 162 official games in the 2023 MLB season. It is also the first season where the teams play at least one game against every MLB teams.

This balanced schedule proposes thirteen games against each of their division rivals. It will lead to a total of 52 games within the same division.

Similarly, they will be playing six games each against six opponents and seven games against four opposing teams of the same league leading to a total of 64 games inside the same league.

They will also play 46 interleague games for each team including a four-games of away-and-home series against their designated interleague rival.

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