D-backs’ wild card tiebreakers primer, postseason magic number
Sep 29, 2023, 2:15 PM | Updated: 3:20 pm
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
The Arizona Diamondbacks enter the final weekend of the regular season with the second National League Wild Card spot in hand, controlling their own destiny.
The wild card standings entering Friday were: Phillies (89-70), D-backs (84-75), Marlins (82-76), Cubs (82-77), Reds (81-78).
Arizona’s magic number for a playoff spot sits at one game with the Houston Astros left on the schedule. It can clinch Friday with a win or losses by both the Cubs and Reds.
The D-backs are done playing National League teams during the regular season, and their tiebreakers in the NL Wild Card battle are set.
Head-to-head record is the first tiebreaker, as the Game 163 was eliminated when playoffs expanded last year. The second tiebreaker is record within one’s division followed by record within the league but outside of the division.
The three division winners in the NL are close to set in stone. The Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers and Milwaukee Brewers clinched their divisions with the Brewers hosting the third wild card team in the three-game NL Wild Card Series.
The Phillies will face the second wild card team.
The postseason starts on Tuesday.
Here’s a look at the D-backs’ tiebreaker statuses and the remaining schedules of their wild card competitors:
Diamondbacks’ National League Wild Card race tiebreakers
D-backs vs. Phillies
Tiebreaker: Phillies (4-3)
Two of Philadelphia’s wins over Arizona came in extra innings, including a game in which then-Diamondbacks reliever Jose Ruiz had two outs with a 5-3 lead in the bottom of the ninth inning at Citizen’s Bank Park.
Phillies remaining schedule: at Mets (3)
D-backs vs. Cubs
Tiebreaker: D-backs (6-1)
The Diamondbacks claimed three of four games at Wrigley Field a week before sweeping the Cubs at home to jump them in the standings during their last homestand.
Cubs remaining schedule: at Brewers (3)
D-backs vs. Marlins
Tiebreaker: Marlins (4-2)
Arizona has not faced Miami since May 10. Madison Bumgarner started in one of the D-backs’ losses, while two others involved late-game lead changes.
The trick here is that the Marlins faced the Mets on Thursday, and the game was rained out in the top of the ninth inning.
They won’t be able to make up that final inning until Monday if necessary, which could impact the D-backs’ seeding.
Marlins remaining schedule: at Pirates (3), at Mets (1, if needed)
D-backs vs. Reds
Tiebreaker: Reds (4-3)
The difference in this series is an extra-inning balk from Nabil Crismatt in his lone Diamondbacks appearance that put the Reds ahead at Chase Field.
Reds remaining opponents: at Cardinals (3)
The most likely three-ways ties the D-backs could find themselves in would involve a combination of the Cubs, Marlins and Reds:
D-backs, Cubs, Marlins: Marlins own head-to-head vs. both
D-backs, Cubs, Reds: Reds own head-to-head vs. both
D-backs, Marlins, Reds: Marlins and Reds own head-to-head over D-backs, Marlins hold better intradivision record than Reds
Checking in on Astros
The final series of the regular season could make or break both the D-backs’ and Astros’ seasons.
Houston enters the set one game ahead of the Seattle Mariners for the final AL Wild Card spot and two games back of the Texas Rangers for the division lead.