With the Cleveland loss, the WORST that could happen to the Yankees
would be that they would be tied with Boston for the AL East in wins.
Since the advent of the wild card team in the playoffs (the team in
each league with the most wins), Major League Baseball has deemed the
division winner in a case of a tie to be the team with the best
As the New York Times notes this morning, "If the Red Sox beat the
Yankees on Sunday, the Yankees would still be awarded the division
title because they have already won the season series with Boston. The
Yankees and the Red Sox have met 18 times this season, with the
Yankees winning 10."
The New York Times
"Hard Slog Puts Yankees on Top, Boston and Cleveland on Edge,"
(Kepner, Oct. 2, 2005)
Here's a bit of the history of the development of current rules:
"What's the Deal With This Wildcard, Anyway?" (Ruzich, undated)
Why did the Cleveland game make the difference? Had the Indians won
(and they came close on both Friday and Saturday), they'd have had a
94-67 record and could have been the Wild Card team with another win
on Sunday. Alas, it was not to be.
Google search strategy:
"playoff rules" MLB baseball tie
"major league baseball" playoffs tie
Best regards (and go Tribe!),