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MLB Division Tie Breaker Rules 2023

By Biraj Khanal / 5 September 2023 07:19 AM

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MLB Division Tie Breaker Rules state that two teams will play a one-game playoff if they are tied for the division title. The winner will advance to playoffs.

The game will be played in the home of the team that won the previous seasonal series between the two teams with the winner declared the Champions. Meanwhile, the loser may still qualify for the wild card games with a better record compared to non-division winners in the league.

The tiebreaker rules and regulations follow the guidelines that determine how to break a tie between two or more teams that ended their regular season with the same records in their respective division.

The tiebreaker for the MLB playoffs includes head-to-head records, Interdivison records, and Intradivison records between the teams. 

Along with the post season and playoff games in MLB, other events such as the Home Run Derby, and MLB All-Star Game also follow a tie-breaker rule if the game ends in a tie.

Divisional Tie Breaker Rules 

MLB tie breaker rules determine how to break a tie between two or more two teams that finish their regular season with the same record in the division.

The MLB used the tie-breaking procedure to break ties between the teams for seeding into the MLB post-season for qualification.

With the divisional winner qualifying for the postseason after the tiebreaker wins, the loser might get a chance to compete for the Wild Card spots with the nondivisional runners.

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Here are some of the points related to baseball tiebreaker rules as mentioned below:

  • If the two teams are tied for the division title, they will have to play a single-game playoff between them in the home ground of the team who previously won the battle against each other in the regular season. The winner will be crowned the divisional champion.
  • If three or more teams are tied for the divisional title, those teams will be ranked in alphabetical order based on head-to-head records against each other. The designation will be chosen by the first team followed by the second team and so on.
  • Among the three teams, if no team wins the head-to-head series against the other teams, Team A will host Team B, and the winner will host Team C. The winner will be crowned the Divisional Champions while the loser might still qualify for the wild card if they have the better record.
  • If four teams get tied for the division title, the teams A will host Team B, and Team C will host Team D. The winner of both games will play against each other at the home of the higher designated team ballpark. 

Some of the MLB tiebreaker games in history are mentioned below:

  • 2018 NL West Divison Los Angeles Dodgers won 5-2 against Colorado Rockies
  • 2018  NL Central Divison, Milwaukee Brewers won 3-1 against Chicago Cubs
  • 2009 AL Central Divison, Minnesota Twins won 6-5 against Detroit Tigers
  • 2008 AL Central Divison, Chicago White Sox won 1-0 against Minnesota Twins
  • 2007 NL Wild Card, Colorado Rockies won 9-8 against San Diego Padres

Tie Breaker For MLB Playoffs

MLB playoff tie breakers state six teams per league will qualify including the three divisional winners and three Wild Cards teams.

As for the 2023 season, the MLB playoff schedule format has been changed or updated with the new playoff format being into practice which mentions:

  • Three Divisional Winners and Three Wild Card teams will qualify for the league.
  • The top two ranked teams in each league will get a round bye to the Divisional Series.
  • The third divisional winner will face up against the third Wild Card team with a higher seeding team hosting all three games in a best-of-three series. The Winner will advance to face the No. 2 seed team in the Divison Series.
  • The second and third Wild Cards ( seed 4 and 5) will also play in a best of three rounds series with the winner advancing to face the No. 1 seed in the Divison Series.
  • The Divisional series is played best of five, League Championship and World Series remain best of seven, with a team with the better season record having home-field advantage.

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With the new playoff format coming into practice here are some of the factors to be considered for the playoff tie-breaker in order:

  • Head to Head Record of the regular season games between the tied teams. In the case of three teams, if any team has a better record against any of the three teams, the two teams will determine the qualifier.
  • But if the three teams don't have any record against each other then the team with the best intra-division record is the qualifier. To break the tie, the involved club's record will be observed with the team having a superior intra-division record winning the tiebreaker.
  • Inter Divison records are checked if the first two didn't give any results in the tie. The tie would be settled based on how they fared against a team within their league.
  • The last half of Intraleague Games records against the team within their league is examined in case the inter-division record is a tie. The club's records are from the last half of games analyzed statistically but not after the All-Star Break.

MLB Wild Card Tie Breaker Rules

MLB Wild Card tie breaker rules determine how to break a tie between the wild card teams with the same season record for the wild card spots in their league.

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These Wild Card spots are awarded to the teams with the best records among the nondivisional winners of each league. They will have a solo game playoff against each other to advance to the division series.

The winner will be the wild card team and the loser will be eliminated from the postseason.

In the case of three teams, if one team has better head-to-head records against the other two, that team will be declared the wild card team with the other two playing a one-game playoff against each other.

In case of no head-to-head records among the three teams, the First team will play against the second team with the winner facing the third team for the qualification through a wild card spot. 

AL wild card tie-breaker rules are applied for the teams competing in the American League whereas NL Wild Card tie-breaker rules are applied for the National League teams competing for the Wild Card berths in the postseason.

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