While it would be incredibly lengthy to lay out every conceivable possibility that remains with seven days to go, here are the most realistic scenarios still in play for 2014. (To see a breakdown of every possible tiebreaker scenario, click here.)
Scenario: Two-team tie for best record or Wild Card
We'll start here because these are scenarios that are relatively plausible and do not involve any extra tiebreaker games. If the Dodgers and Nationals, for example, win their divisions outright and finish tied for the best record in the National League, the team with the better head-to-head record -- in this case the Nats, who went 4-2 against the Dodgers -- would get home-field advantage throughout the NL playoffs.
As for the Wild Card, let's say the Royals and A's both beat out the Mariners for the two AL Wild Card spots and have the same record. In this case, the Royals and A's would not play an extra game to determine who gets home-field advantage in the AL Wild Card Game. Instead, Kansas City would host Oakland in the AL Wild Card Game by virtue of a 5-2 record against the A's.
A similar situation could play out in the NL Wild Card race. For example, if the Giants and the Pirates finish with the same record -- and hold the top two Wild Card spots -- the Pirates would host the Giants in the NL Wild Card Game because of a 4-2 advantage in their season series.
Scenario: Two teams tie for the division
This one is pretty straightforward, and we will use the Royals and Tigers as an example. If they tie for the AL Central crown, they will play a one-game tiebreaker on Monday, Sept. 29. Home-field advantage would go to the club with the superior head-to-head record (in this case, that's the Tigers). The winner of this game would claim the division and face either the Angels or Orioles in the AL Division Series (whichever finishes with a worse record), while the loser would head to the AL Wild Card Game or head home, depending on if it qualifies for the Wild Card.
Other possible two-team division ties: Dodgers-Giants, Cardinals-Pirates, Cardinals-Brewers, Brewers-Pirates, Tigers-Indians, Royals-Indians
Scenario: Two teams tie for the second Wild Card spot
Just as straightforward as the above division scenario. We saw this last year with the Rangers and Rays, and Texas got home-field advantage by virtue of its 4-3 regular-season record against Tampa Bay. If the two tying clubs have an even record against each other, the second determining factor for home field is intradivision record.
Possible two-team ties for second Wild Card: Royals-Mariners, A's-Mariners, Tigers-A's, Tigers-Mariners, Pirates-Brewers, Giants-Pirates, Giants-Brewers, Dodgers-Pirates, Dodgers-Brewers and various other possibilities if the Indians, Blue Jays or Yankees surge.
Scenario: Two-team tie for the division, plus a tie with club outside division for one Wild Card spot
If the Tigers and Royals finished in a tie in the AL Central with a third club -- let's say the Mariners -- tying them for an AL Wild Card spot, the following would happen: The Tigers and Royals would play at Comerica Park (because of Detroit's aforementioned head-to-head advantage) on Sept. 29, and the loser of that game would face the Mariners in Seattle to determine the winner of the second AL Wild Card spot.
Scenario: Two-team tie for the division, plus a tie with club outside division for two Wild Card spots
Same as above, except this time the second game would be the AL Wild Card Game, with home-field advantage determined by the two-team tiebreaker system (head-to-head record, followed by intradivision record).
Scenario: Two-team tie for the division, plus a tie with two clubs outside the division for two Wild Card spots
Let's take the above and add a fourth team -- the A's -- into the mix. Two games would take place Monday, Sept. 29 -- the Tigers-Royals game to determine the division winner and a game between the A's and Mariners to determine who advances (home field would go to the Mariners, as they have the head-to-head advantage). The losers of those two games would then face each other (with the same tiebreaker rules applied to determine home field) to decide who faces the winner of the A's-Mariners game in the AL Wild Card Game.
Some other possible ties in this scenario: Cardinals-Pirates-Giants-Brewers, Dodgers-Giants-Pirates-Brewers
Scenario: Three-team tie for the division
Fans of NL Central teams are quite familiar with this late-season possibility from last season, and here we are again, this time in the AL Central. If the Tigers, Royals and Indians somehow all finish with the same record, they would receive an A, B or C designation. Club A would host Club B on Monday, Sept. 29, and the winner would host Club C on Tuesday, Sept. 30. The winner of that game would be the division champ.
The A, B and C designations are decided by head-to-head records among the three clubs. Therefore, in the AL Central scenario, the Tigers would get first choice of designation as they have secured a winning record against both the Royals and the Indians. Either the Royals or the Indians would get the second choice depending on who has the edge in their season series (they have four games remaining against each other). Think of this almost like a draft, and the team with the "first pick" can choose the scenario it likes best. A team might rather play two games than one if it gets to host both, which is why a team might choose to be Club A over Club C. On the other hand, a team could choose Club C designation if it wants to rest a star pitcher and take its chance in one winner-take-all game, even if it is on the road.
Also of important note here: If all three of these teams were tied not just for the division but for the second Wild Card spot, then the loser of the second game would be declared the Wild Card club. And if all three clubs were tied for the first Wild Card spot, then the losers of the two games would face each other in the Wild Card Game, with home-field advantage determined by the head-to-head records from the regular season or, if that is a tie, their respective records within the division.
Scenario: Three-team tie for two Wild Card spots
An especially realistic possibility in the AL, where the Royals, A's and Mariners are all currently neck and neck. Here, the three teams would choose/receive their A, B and C designations in the same manner as outlined above and play accordingly on Sept. 29 and 30. The winner of the game between Club A and Club B would be declared one Wild Card, and Club C would travel to face the loser of that first game to determine the second.
In this instance, the Mariners would have first choice of designation, as they have a winning record against both the A's and Royals. The Royals would get second choice by virtue of their winning record over the A's.
Some other possible three-team ties for two Wild Cards: Giants-Pirates-Brewers and multiple other scenarios in both leagues if the likes of the Indians, Yankees or Blue Jays suddenly surge or the Tigers or Dodgers fall into second place.
Scenario: Three-team tie for one Wild Card spot
The format here would be the same as it is for a three-team division tie, with Club C traveling to face the winner of the game between Clubs A and B to determine the Wild Card winner.
Let's say the A's take the top AL Wild Card spot, while the Royals, Mariners and Indians finish in a tie for the second. The Mariners have a winning record against those two other clubs, so they'd have first choice. The Indians have the advantage over the Royals, so they'd have second choice.
Some other possible three-team ties for one Wild Card: Various scenarios if Dodgers, Tigers or Cardinals lose division lead or Yankees or Blue Jays surge.
Scenario: Four-team tie for one or two Wild Card spots
While we're not exactly holding our breath, it's still a mathematical possibility for four teams to tie for two spots in the AL, if only because the Indians and Royals still face each other three times (four, if you count the suspended game the Indians are leading in the 10th).
So if the Royals, A's, Mariners and Indians all somehow finished tied, buckle up. They would be given A, B, C and D designations, with first choice going to the club with the highest winning percentage among the tied clubs, second choice going to the club with the second-highest winning percentage, etc. Club A would host Club B and Club C would host Club D on Monday, Sept. 29. The winners of each of those games would be declared the Wild Card clubs.
This is even less likely, but if there were a four-team tie for one Wild Card spot, the winners of the two games would face each other (in the home park of the winner of Club A vs. Club B) to determine the winner on Sept. 30.
Scenario: Two-team tie for best record in the league
Pretty simple here. The league's No. 1 playoff seed is given to the club with the head-to-head advantage. If that's a tie, it goes to the club with the higher intradivision record. If that's a tie, it goes to the club with the better record in the last half of intraleague games.
The Angels and Orioles have both clinched and moved on to a less-hyped but still-important race for the AL's best record and home-field advantage throughout October (the AL has home-field advantage in the World Series because of the All-Star Game result). Should they finish tied, the O's have the upper hand by virtue of their 4-2 record against the Halos.
Some other possible two-team ties for best record in the league: Nationals-Dodgers, Nationals-Cardinals, Dodgers-Cardinals
Scenario: Three-team tie for best record in the league
Still a possibility in the NL. If the Nationals, Dodgers and Cardinals all finished with the same record, their head-to-head records would come into play. The Cards won the season series against the Nats, 5-2; the Nationals won the season series against the Dodgers, 4-2; and the Dodgers won the season series against the Cardinals, 4-3. This gives the Cards an advantage, as they are 8-6 combined against the other two clubs. They would choose the No. 1 seed. The Nats would have the second seed, by virtue of their winning record against Los Angeles.
Another possible three-team tie for best record in the league: Nationals-Cardinals-Giants.
Scenario: Three-team tie for best record with two of the teams in the same division
If the Giants, Dodgers and Nationals finish with the same record, the Giants and Dodgers would play a game to determine the NL West champ. However, even though that counts as a regular-season game, it has no bearing on the tiebreaker with the Nats. Instead, the head-to-head record between the Nationals and NL West champ would be used to determine which team gets the No. 1 seed.