Dodgers: Clinched, or Not Clinched? Expanded Playoff Tiebreakers Causing Confusion
The Dodgers clinched a postseason berth on Sunday, beating the Padres, 11-2, to guarantee at least a tie with the Brewers, who are currently the first team on the outside of the Wild Card chase looking in and whom the Dodgers beat in the season series, 4-3.
The Dodgers didn’t do much to celebrate what has been a foregone conclusion for months, and now it looks like maybe that’s a good thing, because it appears that, mathematically speaking, they might not have actually clinched.
You see, the Brewers are still in the hunt for the NL Central title. If the Brewers were to win all their remaining games AND if the Dodgers lost all their remaining games AND if the Padres went at least 20-1 and their final 22 games, the Padres would win the NL West and the Dodgers and Brewers would be tied, which would only matter if they were tied for the final Wild Card spot. The Dodgers have the tiebreaker over the Brewers, but if the Cardinals were also tied for that last Wild Card spot, the situation changes. In that scenario, the Brewers would be the NL Central champs by virtue of having won the season series with St. Louis, and it would be the Dodgers and Cardinals in the tiebreaker for the Wild Card. Right now, the Dodgers have won two of three from the Cardinals, but remember, in this scenario, the Dodgers lose the rest of their games, which includes three with St. Louis later this month. So the Cardinals would hold the tiebreaker over the Dodgers, and the Dodgers would be out.
So, let’s look at it more simply. Here’s what the records would have to be the rest of the way for the Dodgers to miss the playoffs:
- Dodgers: 0-23
- Padres: 21-0 or 20-1
- Brewers: 21-0
- Cardinals: 13-8 (exactly; 14-7 wins them the division, and 12-6 drops them a game behind the Dodgers)
So, technically, the Dodgers’ magic number to clinch a playoff berth remains 1 heading into their series in Arizona. But wow, what a technicality. It would take three or four things that have never happened individually in baseball history, and they’d all have to happen at the same time.
So yeah, we’re gonna go out on a limb and say the Dodgers will make the postseason, clinched or not.
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