Going into the final weekend the Tigers are 85-73. The Jays and Orioles are 87-72. The Mariners are 85-74. Each team will play three times over the next three days and can all win 0, 1, 2, or 3 games independent of each other. That means that there are 256 different ways this thing can look when Sunday ends.
I ran the scenarios to see the different possibilities. This doesn’t factor in team strength, opponents, or anything else. There are 256 ways this can go.
In 126 scenarios, the Tigers are eliminated from contention at the end of Sunday. They may have to play Monday for Cleveland’s sake, but they would be out.
It breaks down like this:
Win 3: Eliminated 4/64.
Win 2: Eliminated 16/64
Win 1: Eliminated 42/64
Win 0: Eliminated 64/64
In 108 scenarios, they have to play Monday to determine if they make the wild card. There are a lot of weird versions of this. But they all require the Tigers play Cleveland on Monday to sort something out. Keep in mind there are scenarios within this set in which the club has to play additional games between Monday and the wild card, but that gets extremely convoluted so we’ll keep it simple.
Win 3: 38/64 Play Cleveland
Win 2: 48/64 Play Cleveland
Win 1: 22/64 Play Cleveland
Win 0: 0/64 Play Cleveland
In 22 scenarios, they make it straight through to the wild card in some fashion.
Win 3: 22/64 Wild Card
Win 0-2: 0/192 Wild Card
To summarize, if the Tigers win out, there are only four ways they are out of it when Sunday ends. In 60/64 “Win 3” scenarios they will play at least one more game. If they lose all three, they are done.
If they win two games, odds are they will play Cleveland with a shot to get into a tiebreak or wild card, but there are 16/64 scenarios in which they win two games and their season ends anyway.
If they go 1-2 in Atlanta, they will probably be eliminated, but there are 22/64 scenarios in which they would play Cleveland with a shot to get into a tiebreak of some sort.
Confusing? Definitely. The nice thing is it gets progressively easier to follow after each game.