Here's why postponing Indians-Tigers could lead to MLB playoff chaos
The Tigers and Indians were rained out on Thursday. Here's what that means for the AL wild card race
Thursday's scheduled tilt between the Indians and Tigers in Detroit has been postponed because of rain. If necessary, the two teams will make up that game on Monday -- the day after everyone else has completed regular season play. While the game doesn't matter all that much to the Indians, who have already wrapped up the AL Central, it's potentially a critical one for the Tigers.
The Tigers entered play on Thursday only one game behind the Orioles for the second AL wild-card berth and, at two games back of the Blue Jays, still within range of the top wild-card spot. That is to say, it's entirely possible that the Tigers will need to play the Indians on Monday. From the Indians' standpoint, it's also possible that the banged Thursday game will be necessary to determine who gets home-field advantage in the ALDS.
Anyhow, for the Indians a Monday makeup would mean two days off instead of three going into the ALDS. Also, given their battered rotation, it's all but certain that they'll trot out someone of the "back-end spot starter" variety to face Detroit.
From the Tigers' standpoint is where things potentially get chaotic. If the outcome of Monday's game means the Tigers are tied for a wild-card spot -- given the late hour and the margin in question, this is entirely possible -- then they'd need to play a tiebreaker on Tuesday. Since Tuesday is the original date for the AL Wild Card Game, this means that the wild-card game would be pushed back to Wednesday. Each ALDS is scheduled to start Thursday.
So consider: The Tigers play at home on Monday and wind up tied for the second wild card. Then they travel to Baltimore or Toronto for the tiebreaker game, since the Orioles and Blue Jays have each earned the right to host a tiebreaker against the Tigers. Assume the Tigers win and earn the second wild-card berth. That means on Wednesday they'd travel to the top wild-card team to play the AL wild-card game. If they get through that, then they'd need to fly to the AL's top seed (almost certainly the Rangers) for Game 1 of the ALDS.
That would come to four cities in four days for the Tigers. Needless to say, they'll take it if that's their road to the postseason, but that's a tough draw, to be sure. Such a turn of events isn't likely, necessarily, but it's very much in play thanks to Thursday's weather.
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