With four teams within one game fighting for two spots, Sunday is chaos. There are 16 different unique scenarios that could result in 11 different tiebreaker and Wild Card game matchups.
The Toronto Blue Jays' Sunday responsibility is clear, beat the Baltimore Orioles at Rogers Centre. If they do that and get a loss from one of the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox, Toronto lives to fight another day. If Toronto can earn a Game 163 tiebreaker, the outcomes of the Seattle Mariners, Yankees, and Red Sox contests will define what tiebreaker scenario they are thrust into. Here's a ranking of a few of those tiebreakers, based on the ideal situations for Toronto:
1. Four-Way Tie
What needs to happen? Blue Jays win, Mariners win, Red Sox lose, Yankees lose
Peak chaos. The four teams within a game for the final two American League playoff spots all finish with 91 wins.
If everything falls into place for this situation and the four squads are forced into two games to decide the Wild Card spots, the Blue Jays have their best possible setup (on paper). In a four-way tie, the Blue Jays would host the Seattle Mariners set to play the winner of Boston and New York in the AL Wild Card.
No wins in October are guaranteed, but this scenario is best for the Jays because they play the worst remaining team, according to expected record and run differential, get to host the game, and could still earn the right to host the Wild Card game. If the Jays win their tiebreaker 163 over Seattle, and the Yankees top the Red Sox, Toronto would be right back at Rogers Centre fighting for their lives in a one-game playoff the next day against New York.
2. Three-Team Tie With New York & Boston
What needs to happen? Toronto wins, Washington wins, Tampa Bay wins, Los Angeles wins
In a three-team tie for two Wild Card spots with the Red Sox and Yankees, Boston would have the most advantageous scenario.
The Red Sox would get the choice to host Game 163 and then go on the road if they lose that initial game. The Blue Jays, too, could choose two cracks at a Wild Card spot in this scenario with the tiebreaker over New York, but could also choose to host Game 164, playing the loser of New York and Boston.
3. Wild Card 2 Tie With New York
What needs to happen? Toronto wins, Boston wins, Tampa Bay wins, Los Angeles wins
If the Blue Jays are forced into a one-game tiebreak with the Yankees to play the Red Sox in the AL Wild Card, it's one of few situations where a Game 163 could be hosted in Canada. Because of head-to-head records this year, New York is the only team that the Jays own the tiebreak against, and could host a one-on-one tiebreaker against.
To make the ALDS, the Jays would still need to best New York at home, and then go to Fenway and win a second must-win game, but at least Rogers Centre gets to back their boys for one more game in this case.
Ultimately, the Blue Jays will continue to take things one day and one game at a time. Manager Charlie Montoyo has preached all season that this team will "be where we need to be when we need to be there." That's the mentality they'll need to have because it doesn't matter who they play or where the game is held — losing is no longer an option.