Mets win coin toss over Brewers

Mets win coin toss over Brewers

ATLANTA -- Baseball's annual flip of a coin holds some rather weighty implications. If a flip falls right for any given team, then a home stadium, a familiar bed and thousands of screaming fans await. But if the coin flips wrong, all those advantages disappear.

So lucky for the Mets that Friday's additional coin flip fell in their favor, giving them home-field advance in a potential one-game playoff against the Brewers. If those two teams tie for the National League Wild Card lead at season's end, then Shea Stadium will host the tie-breaking game.

TIEBREAKER SCENARIOS
AMERICAN LEAGUE

Playoff for AL East
Tampa Bay at Boston

Playoff for AL Central
Minnesota at Chicago

Playoff for AL Wild Card
Minnesota at Boston

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Playoff for NL East
New York at Philadelphia

Playoff for NL Central
Chicago Cubs at Milwaukee

Playoff for NL West
Arizona at Los Angeles

Playoff for NL Wild Card
Milwaukee at Philadelphia
Milwaukee at Houston
Milwaukee at New York
Milwaukee at St. Louis
Houston at Philadelphia
St. Louis at Philadelphia
Houston at St. Louis
It's a feasible scenario. The Mets, with 10 games remaining, lead the Brewers by 1 1/2 games in the Wild Card standings. And the Brewers have nine games remaining to close that gap.

In Milwaukee, the Brewers endured their second coin flip defeat this month, after losing a flip to the Phillies for the Wild Card tiebreaker. The Mets also lost a flip to the Phillies -- in case those two teams tie for the NL East lead, but own a lesser record than the Wild Card winner.

If the Mets and Phillies tie for first place and have better records than the runners-up in the other divisions, then the Mets will be the NL East champions based on their 11-7 head-to-head record against the Phillies, who would take the Wild Card. There would be no need for a one-game playoff, because both teams would make the postseason.

The Brewers also lost Wild Card coin flips to the Astros and Cardinals, though those teams have slowly faded for a postseason spot. They did win a flip against the Cubs for home-field advantage in a possible NL Central tiebreaker, but that would only occur if both the Mets and Phillies finished with better records than the Brewers and Cubs. Such a scenario has become exceedingly unlikely.

Major League Baseball flips a series of coins each season to determine home-field advantage in any possible tiebreaking games. Such games count as regular-season games, and all performances within them apply only to regular-season statistics.

Yet history has shown that home-field advantage might not matter much. The Mets lost a coin flip in 1999, forcing them to play the Reds in a one-game Wild Card playoff in Cincinnati. But they won, 5-0, to advance to the NL Division Series against the Diamondbacks.

Baseball didn't see another one-game playoff until last season, when the Rockies -- complete with home-field advantage -- beat the Padres to advance to the NLDS. The Mets would have had to travel to Philadelphia last year for a one-game playoff of their own, but the game became unnecessary after the Phillies won the division championship outright.

Regardless of their surroundings, the Mets still might have an advantage over the Brewers in a one-game playoff -- they are 4-2 against the Brewers this season, outscoring them, 33-25. Yet the Brewers did take two of three from the Mets at Shea back in April, and are 8-7 at Shea Stadium over the past five seasons.

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.