It seems as if tunnel vision is a symptom of playoff fever. The Orioles have clinched the playoffs and everyone is doing the math in regards to Oakland and the New York Yankees, but it’s not that simple. The playoff scenarios break down like this:
The Athletics (92-68) are playing the Texas Rangers in Oakland (93-67) in the final two games with the AL West pennant on the line while the Yankees (93-67) take on the Red Sox.
If the O’s win their final two:
If the Orioles win their final two games at Tampa Bay, they are assured of playing another game at Camden Yards, whether it be the wild card play-in game or in the American League Division Series depending on how other games play out.
If the Yankees lose one of the last two to the Red Sox, there would be a tiebreaker game between the Yankees and Orioles on Thursday to determine the winner of the division. The loser would then play the wild card game against either the Rangers or Oakland (whoever didn’t win the division). If the Yankees lose their final two, the Orioles would win division outright and would not have to play a wild card game.
If the A’s win their final two games, they would win the West and the Orioles would host the Rangers on Friday in the wild card game. If the Rangers win at least one of the final two games, they would win the division and the Orioles would then host the A’s in the Wildcard game.
If the O’s lose one of the final two:
The Red Sox would also have to beat the Yankees twice in order for the O’s to have a chance at the division title. If this happens, there would be a one-game tiebreaker on Thursday to determine the division winner and the loser would then play in the wild card game against either the Rangers or A’s. If the Yankees win at least one of the final two, they would win the division and the Orioles would play in the wild card game.
They would need help to host the wild card game should they finish behind the Yankees. The Rangers would have to win the final two for the Orioles to host the wild card game because the A’s have the tiebreaker against the Orioles (head-to-head record). If the A’s win at least one the Orioles would play in Oakland on Friday. If the A’s win the final two the Orioles would go to Arlington to play the Rangers on Friday due to Texas winning the head-to-head series as the tiebreaker.
If the O’s lose their final two:
They have no chance of winning the division and no chance of hosting the wild card game. They would go to either Oakland or Texas on Friday, depending on how their series turns out
It’s all spelled out right here for you. The Orioles control their destiny in terms of hosting the wild card play-in game, but they obviously still need help from the Red Sox to win the division.