WBC: Untangling the Team USA tiebreaker scenario

I’m going to look at the WBC for the rest of your week. To whet your appetite, tomorrow’s post is entitled “Putting the World in World Baseball Classic.” I’ll examine the American struggles in the WBC in the context of the game’s global appeal.

Things are not looking good for Team USA. The favorites to win the tournament, the Americans will once again turn to Roger Clemens – and a little bit of luck first – to advance to the semifinals.

After a disappointing loss to the 5-0 Korean team, the Americans find themselves in the position they were in for the first round of pool play. They are relying on their old horse and another team’s pitching to get them into the next round of tournament play. To make this easy, here are the five scenarios.

Scenario 1 or The Easy Way
Korea beats Japan
USA beats Mexico

This is, as the name suggests, the easiest way for the Americans to advance. Korea already beat Japan once in the WBC, and the team has been downright dominant. Their pitching staff has given up just 7 runs in 5 full games, and their offense has come through with key hits to control the games from the start. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Korea come out on top here.

If Korea wins, all the US has to do is beat Mexico again. With Roger Clemens potentially pitching his last game, you can bet that he’ll be fired up if he is in a position to carry Team USA into the semifinals.

Scenario 2 or The Hard Way
Japan beats Korea but allows 7 runs or more
USA beats Mexico

Now, it starts to get confusing. If Japan beats Korea and the US beats Mexico, the pool will once again have a three-way tie for best record. In this case, the tiebreaker heads to fewest runs allowed per innings played of defense in games against those teams with which you are tied. (Got that? Yeah, well, me neither.) As of now, the US has allowed 10 runs in 17 innings against Japan and Korea or .588 runs per inning.

Japan, if they allow 7 runs, would have allowed 11 runs in 17.6 innings for .625 runs per inning. While you may be tempted to count out Japan at this point, hold on.

Korea, if they lose and score 7 runs, means they allowed more than 7 runs. So the fewest runs allowed by Korea in this scenario is 8. That gives them 11 runs in 17 innings (because Japan is the home team). At .647 runs per inning, Korea would be out. At this point, Japan and the US would advance.

But don’t count on this happening. It would be a slug fest of epic proportions considering the pitching we’ve seen in the WBC.

Scenario 3 or The Nearly Impossible Way
Japan beats Korea but allows 6 runs or fewer

If Japan wins and allows 6 runs or fewer, the US team can disperse back to their training camps. At this point, Japan will win on the fewest innings clause.

What about Korea, you may ask? Here’s the rub.

In this scenario, if Japan wins by scoring 7 runs or fewer, Korea is in. Both Korea and the US would have allowed at most 10 runs in 17 innings. But since Korea beat the US, Korea is in.

If Japan scores more than 7 runs, Team USA would then have to beat Mexico to make. At that point, Korea would have given up at least 11 runs in 17 innings, putting them behind Team USA. Nobody ever said wrapping your head around this was easy.

Scenario 4 or The Impossible Way
Japan beats Korea
Mexico beats USA

The end. Team USA does not advance. In this case, who advances in addition to Korea depends on the outcome of the Korea-Japan game. But that is a calculation for another day never.

Scenario 5 or The Losing Way
Korea beats Japan
Mexico beats USA but scores fewer than 3 runs

In this case, USA advances. Take my word for it. The math works out. Team USA would have allowed 5 runs in 16 (or up to 16.6) innings to Mexico and Japan while Japan has allowed 5 runs in 17.6 innings.

If Mexico scores 3 runs or more AND beats the USA, Japan advances, and the Americans go home.

Now, everyone ready for the quiz?

5 Responses to “WBC: Untangling the Team USA tiebreaker scenario”


  1. 1 Bob Timmermann March 15, 2006 at 2:01 pm

    Where is there a provision in the tiebreakers that if one of the three teams has a better runs allowed than the other two, you go back to a 2-team tiebreaker and go head-to-head?

    Your math is right if that is the case, but I don’t see that provision anywhere.

  2. 2 Benjamin Kabak March 15, 2006 at 2:05 pm

    Bob: The WBC FAQs (click here) state, “The team that defeated the other tied team head-to-head in a given Round shall be ranked higher in the pool standings for such Round.” I assumed that since that’s the first tiebreaker, it takes precedence over the second tiebreaker. I could be wrong though. The WBC organizers certainly aren’t making this easy.

  3. 3 Bob Timmermann March 15, 2006 at 2:25 pm

    I thought that was true, but the US beat Mexico, but the US was considered to be the #2 seed instead of Mexico.

    Perhaps we need to get on the phone to Switzerland!

  4. 4 Benjamin Kabak March 15, 2006 at 2:30 pm

    Hmmm. That is a good point. I remember reading someone express surprise that Mexico was ranked ahead of the US, but no one ever explained why. Switzerland it is then!

  5. 5 Bob Timmermann March 15, 2006 at 2:41 pm

    (41-21) 318 82 40


Comments are currently closed.



RSS River Ave. Blues

  • Weekend Open Thread December 9, 2016
    The Winter Meetings are over, but I haven’t had much time to catch up on my reading, so I don’t have any links to pass along this week. I instead offer you MLBTR’s list of potential 2018-19 free agents. That’s the monster Bryce Harper/Manny Machado class. It goes beyond them too. Second tier free agents […] The post Weekend Open Thread appeared first on Rive […]
    Mike Axisa
  • RAB Live Chat December 9, 2016
    The post RAB Live Chat appeared first on River Avenue Blues.
    Mike Axisa
  • Getting under the luxury tax threshold in 2017 is possible, but very unlikely for the Yankees December 9, 2016
    At some point soon very soon the Yankees will get under the luxury tax threshold. That’s the plan. The new Collective Bargaining Agreement raised the threshold a bit, which gives the team more breathing room. Getting under the threshold resets New York’s tax rate, and depending on the terms of the new CBA, it could […] The post Getting under the luxury tax t […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Mailbag: Choo, Duffy, Ventura, Solarte, Espinosa, Betances December 9, 2016
    Only eleven questions in the mailbag this week. I had a few lined up that were rendered moot by the Aroldis Chapman signing. What about getting this guy instead of Chapman? That sort of thing. So blame the Yankees and Chapman for the relatively short mailbag. Anyway, RABmailbag (at) gmail (dot) com is the place […] The post Mailbag: Choo, Duffy, Ventura, Sol […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Thursday Night Open Thread December 9, 2016
    The 2016 Winter Meetings are over. The Yankees got their closer and that’s pretty much it. From the sound of things, adding a starting pitcher is going to be pretty difficult. Free agency is a wasteland and pretty much nothing comes cheap on the trade market anymore. I seem to find myself saying “they gave […] The post Thursday Night Open Thread appeared fir […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Commenting Guidelines Reminder December 8, 2016
    Just wanted to send out a reminder on our commenting policy.  No one wants to censor you, just be adults and kind to each other. River Ave. Blues is the premier independent Yankee blog. With multiple posts and thousands of visitors a day, River Ave. Blues has developed into a community of knowledgeable and outspoken […] The post Commenting Guidelines Reminde […]
    Jay Gordon
  • 2016 Winter Meetings Open Thread: Thursday December 8, 2016
    The 2016 Winter Meetings wrap-up today from the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland. Late last night the Yankees swooped in and agreed to re-sign Aroldis Chapman to a five-year contract worth $86M, which is easily the largest reliever contract in history. Now the team can move on to other business, […] The post 2016 W […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Shohei Otani still expected to be posted next offseason, which is great news for the Yankees December 8, 2016
    Earlier this week we learned Shohei Otani, the best pitcher (and hitter?) in the world not under contract with an MLB team, hopes to come over to MLB next offseason. The new Collective Bargaining Agreement means Otani will be subject to the international spending cap, severely limiting his earning potential. Hard to believe MLB and […] The post Shohei Otani […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Thoughts following the Aroldis Chapman signing December 8, 2016
    Late last night, the Yankees landed their high-priced closer and agreed to sign Aroldis Chapman to a five-year contract worth $86M. It includes no-trade protection and an opt-out after the third year. Joel Sherman and Bob Nightengale say Chapman turned down more money from the Marlins, who offered $87M with opt-outs after years one and […] The post Thoughts […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Yankees lose Torrens, six others in 2016 Rule 5 Draft December 8, 2016
    Thursday morning, the 2016 Winter Meetings unofficially wrapped up with the Rule 5 Draft. Traditionally everyone heads home after that. The Yankees were not able to make a Rule 5 Draft pick this year because their 40-man roster is full, though their incredibly deep farm system was raided pretty good, as expected. So it goes. […] The post Yankees lose Torrens […]
    Mike Axisa

Blog Stats

  • 62,046 hits

%d bloggers like this: