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Dodgers actually haven’t clinched a playoff spot just yet

LA’s magic number for a 10th straight postseason berth is 1

Los Angeles Dodgers v San Diego Padres Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images

Remember all that on Sunday about the Dodgers clinching a playoff spot? It’s not technically true just yet, though it could be as soon as Monday. Multiple-team tiebreakers threw a wrench into plans.

The Dodgers won four of seven games against the Brewers this season, which gives them the tiebreaker over Milwaukee should those two teams end up tied for one spot. The Dodgers have 96 wins, and the Brewers have 66 losses, so the only way that could happen is if Los Angeles loses all 23 of its final games, and Milwaukee wins its last 21 games.

But that fails to account for a true chaos scenario of another team (or multiple other teams) also ending up at 96-66, vying for a spot.

The Padres can still technically win the National League West, so let’s leave them aside for a moment.

First, let’s look at the MLB tiebreaker scenarios, with Games 163 no longer in the mix:

Here are some scenarios where the Dodgers could still technically be on the outside looking in.

Let’s say the Brewers win out and tie the Cardinals atop NL Central, the Padres win the NL West, and you have the Cardinals, Brewers, Phillies, and Dodgers somehow all end up tied at 96-66 for the NL Central and the final two wild card spots. Milwaukee would get the division in that scenario by winning the season series over St. Louis. The Brewers are currently 8-7 against the Cardinals, but winning out would ensure four more wins over their division rivals.

Here are the head-to-head marks in that remaining three-team, wild card jumble:

Phillies: 8-6 (.571) against the Cardinals and Dodgers
Cardinals: 7-6 (.538) against the Dodgers and Phillies
Dodgers: 5-8 (.385) against the Cardinals and Phillies

With the Dodgers dropping all their remaining regular season games in this scenario, they’d lose all three games to the Cardinals next week at Dodger Stadium. This would give St. Louis a 4-2 season series edge, and also knock the Dodgers out if it came down to a two-team tiebreaker.

This scenario isn’t realistic, but it’s at least possible. But perhaps a more realistic version is if the Phillies end up 96-66, that requires an 18-4 finish, and it’s likely they pass at least one of Atlanta or New York. Since the Mets would have to lose the three games against Milwaukee in this scenario, and should they get swept by Atlanta in the season’s final weekend, let’s drop New York into the three-team wild card muck:

Mets: 9-5 (.643) against the Cardinals and Dodgers
Cardinals: 6-7 (.462) against the Dodgers and Mets
Dodgers: 5-8 (.385) against the Cardinals and Mets

All this confusion ends, at least as far as the Dodgers are related, with one more win, or a Milwaukee loss, though the Brewers don’t play until Tuesday. That leaves only one chance for the Dodgers to clinch a playoff berth on Monday: a win, which would in fact guarantee them a playoff berth. For real this time.