While a Win in the Tie Breaker is Nice…

While a win in the tie-breaking game determining a playoff spot is nice, it may not be the best position to be in.
Since 1946 there have been only 13 tie-breaker games, only 8 of those have decided a division or wild card berth.
Of the 8, only two have made it to the World Series, and only one (the 1978 New York Yankees) won it.
Then there is the fact that some teams feel compelled to pitch one of their best pitchers on short rest or not in the tie breaker to have the best chance to win. This is their choice and is fine, but what if they do in fact win the game? The #1 or #2 pitcher then isn’t available until later in the series, like say game 3. This means going with guys who might start game 3 or 4 in game 1 or 2. I’m not saying those pitchers don’t deserve it, but like I said, they’re more likely to start game 3 or 4. This could put the team in a big hole.
Going into a tie-breaker game usually means that you’re either on a tear or in the midst of an extreme collapse. There are the occasions when both teams play evenly to get in, but those tend to be less common.
Now, if you’re the former then that’s great. But the last team to win a tie breaker while on a tear was those pesky 2009 Twins who got flattened by the Yankees in the ALDS.
If you’re the latter then you might be in trouble. You can say all you want about how history favors a team who comes limping into the playoff, but truth be told it’s probably easier to play when you’re on a 3-4 game winning streak than having lost 13 of 19.
Another nugget here is that Tampa might be the favorite heading into a tie breaker with Boston.
I’m not discounting Boston, but think about it. Not only are the Rays pitching MUCH better, but they haven’t been on a torrential slump like the Red Sox have. If you look at other tie breakers the team that goes on the head-turning-run generally wins. Look at the 1995 Seattle Mariners and (it pains me to say this) the 2009 Minnesota Twins and the 2007 Colorado Rockies. All went on unbelievable runs and won the tie breaker. The only downside to this is that none of them won a World Series. So, maybe Tampa breaks the streak, maybe they don’t even make the playoffs, maybe there’s no tiebreaker and the Sox win it, who knows? But one thing is for sure, there’s going to be some good baseball come October.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s