How do MLB Playoff tiebreakers work?

The Cincinnati Reds are in a four-way for the final NL Wild Card spot.

Cincinnati Reds infielders Noelvi Marte and Elly De La Cruz
Cincinnati Reds infielders Noelvi Marte and Elly De La Cruz / Chris Coduto/GettyImages
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Despite having what feels like half the team on the injured list, the Cincinnati Reds a slugging it out and are still in contention for a spot in the MLB Playoffs.

Believe it or not, the Reds are in a four-way tie for the third and final Wild Card spot in the National League. Cincinnati has the same winning percentage as the San Francisco Giants, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Miami Marlins.

But what if all four teams are tied at the end of the regular season? How does Major League Baseball determine tiebreakers for the playoffs?

How do MLB Playoff tiebreakers work?

If after 162 games two or more teams have identical records, how does MLB determine who goes to the postseason and who'll be watching from home during the month of October?

First, everyone should know that there's no longer the possibility for a 163rd game. With the 2022 expansion from 10 to 12 playoff teams, Major League Baseball did away with Game 163. Instead, like most other sports, MLB will use a team's performance during the regular season to determine playoff seeding.

Head-to-head record will be the first factor in determining a tiebreaker. This bodes well for the Cincinnati Reds against the Arizona Diamondbacks and Chicago Cubs. Cincinnati went 4-3 against Arizona and 7-6 against Chicago.

Unfortunately, the Reds didn't fare as well against the Giants, going 3-4 against San Francisco. The Reds went 3-3 against the Marlins. So if Cincinnati is tied with San Francisco at the end of the season, the Reds would be on the outside looking in. If the Reds and Marlins are tied, things get interesting.

According to MLB.com, if a team's record in head-to-head matchups isn't enough to determine a qualifier, then intradivision record, interdivision record, and intraleague games. But given the Reds win-loss record this season against fellow Wild Card competitors, those situations are unlikely to come into play unless the Reds and Marlins finish tied for the final Wild Card spot.

As far as the Cincinnati Reds are concerned, so long as they have a better record than the San Francisco Giants and Miami Marlins at the end of the season, they'll be in the clear. It'll be a chore, however, especially with so many players currently on the injured list.

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