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Dodgers: How Could the New MLB Tiebreaker Rules Affect LA?

With the new CBA, any ties will be broken with mathematical formulas instead of Game 163. Here's how those tiebreakers could affect the Dodgers.

In 2018, the Dodgers and Rockies finished the regular season tied for first place in the National League West. They knew they were both going to the postseason, but one would be going as the NL West champs and the other would be heading to Chicago to play a Wild Card game against the Cubs.

How was that determined? A good old-fashioned Game 163. Colorado came to Dodger Stadium, and Walker Buehler outdueled German Marquez, giving the NL West title to the Dodgers and sending Colorado to Chicago.

Part of the new collective bargaining agreement between the players' union and the owners is expanded playoffs, with three Wild Card teams from each league instead of two. That means an extra round of postseason games, which means no time for any Game 163s. So now, all ties will be broken by calculators, instead of on the field.

We've already seen the impact of these rules with the confusion last week about whether the Dodgers had clinched a postseason spot or not. Everyone thought they had clinched a spot after their win on Sunday, September 11, because they clinched at least a tie with the Brewers, and the Dodgers won their season series with Milwaukee, which is the first tiebreaker.

But there was still a mathematical chance the Brewers would win the NL Central and it would be the Cardinals the Dodgers needed to finish ahead of to assure at least a Wild Card spot, and the Dodgers hadn't yet completed their season series with St. Louis. So we got to spend a few hours talking about the mathematically possible but unrealistic chance of the Dodgers missing out on the postseason, until L.A. went out and won that night to remove any doubt.

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Tie-breakers could still affect the Dodgers, though. They lost their season series to the Mets, so if those two teams were to finish with the same record and meet up in the NLCS, it would be the Mets, not the Dodgers, holding home field advantage in that series.

There's also the Astros, who currently sit six games behind the Dodgers for the best record in baseball. If the Astros were to come back to tie the Dodgers and the two teams met up in the World Series, home field would be determined by a tiebreaker. But the Dodgers and Astros didn't meet in the regular season this year, so they would go to the second tiebreaker: intradivision record.

This means home field in the World Series would be determined by the Dodgers' record against the NL West and the Astros' record against the AL West. The Dodgers are currently 47-16 against the NL West, while the Astros are 51-25 against the AL West. Houston is done playing within their division for the year, while Los Angeles has 13 games left with NL West foes. If the Dodgers win at least five of those 13 games, they'd hold the advantage in the case of a tie with the Astros.

If, somehow, the Dodgers and Astros ended up with the same record and the Dodgers went exactly 4-9 in their final 13 NL West games, the next tiebreaker would be record against teams in the same league but not the same division — so the Dodgers' record against the NL Central and NL East vs. the Astros' record against the AL Central and AL East.

The Dodgers are currently 40-23 in those games, with three games left against the Cardinals. The Astros are 37-20, with nine of their 14 remaining games fitting those criteria.

Bottom line: The Dodgers should just make sure to finish with the best record in baseball and not worry about any of the tiebreakers. Win it on the field and leave the calculators at home.