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September 13, 2017

In this scenario, no team is in yet. We'll assume the following five teams are still alive and are designated as follows:

Team A: Yankees
Team B: Twins
Team C: Angels
Team D: Royals
Team E: Rangers

There are multiple ways MLB could split these teams up. They could organize them by two- and three-team pods or, though it's unlikely, use a bye for Team A and then have a three-team tiebreaker. Let's examine each scenario:

Scenario 1: Two-Team/Three-Team Split

Two-Team Pod:

Game 1, Oct. 2: Team B (Twins) at Team A (Yankees): loser is eliminated; winner gets wild-card berth No. 1

Three-Team Pod:

Game 2, Oct. 2: Team D (Royals) at Team C (Angels): loser is eliminated

Game 3, Oct. 2: Team E (Rangers) at Game 2 winner (C or D); winner gets wild-card berth No. 2

To Reach The Wild-Card Game:

Team A has to win one game at home.

Team B has to win one game on the road.

Team C has to win two games, both at home.

Team D has to win two games, the first on the road and the second at home.

Team E has to win one game on the road.

Scenario 2: Three-Team/Two-Team Split

This scenario is doubtful to be implemented if MLB's hope is that Team A is supposed to be the best option for a team to choose. 

Three-Team Pod:

Game 1, Oct. 2: Team B (Angels) at Team A (Twins); loser is eliminated, winner advances

Game 2, Oct. 3: Team C (Royals) at Game 1 winner (A or B); winner gets wild-card berth No. 1

Two-Team Pod:

Game 3: Team E (Rangers) at Team D (Royals): winner gets wild-card berth No. 2

To Reach The Wild-Card Game:

Team A has to win two games, both at home.

Team B has to win two games, the first on the road and the second at home.

Team C has to win one game on the road.

Team D has to win one game at home.

Team E has to win one game on the road.

Scenario 3: The Bye Option

This option is unlikely because Team A would not only get a bye, it would only have to win once—and a home game at that—to get in. The most likely solution to that would be to have Team A get a bye but have to play a road game in the second round against the Game 1 winner.

First Round:

Team A (Yankees) gets a bye

Game 1, Oct. 2: Team C (Angels) at Team B (Twins); loser is eliminated

Game 2, Oct. 2: Team E (Rangers) at Team D (Royals); loser is eliminated

Second Round (Team A at home):

Game 3, Oct. 3: Game 1 winner (B or C) at Team A (Yankees); winner gets first wild-card

Game 4, Oct. 3: Game 3 loser (B or C) at Game 2 winner (D or E); winner gets second wild-card

Second Round (Team A on the road):

Game 3, Oct. 3: Team A (Yankees) at Game 1 winner (B or C); winner gets first wild-card

Game 4, Oct. 3: Game 3 loser (B or C) at Game 2 winner (D or E); winner gets second wild-card

To Reach Wild-Card Game (Team A at home):

Team A has to win one game at home

Team B has to win two games, the first at home and the second on the road.

Team C has to win two games, both on the road.

Team D has to win two games, both at home.

Team E has to win two games, the first on the road and the second at home.

To Reach Wild-Card Game (Team A on the road):

Team A has to win one game on the road.

Team B has to win two games, both at home.

Team C has to win two games, the first on the road and the second at home.

Team D has to win two games, both at home.

Team E has to win two games, the first on the road and the second at home.

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