For the Indians, Rays and Rangers, it all comes down to game number 162.
This is exactly what commissioner Bud Selig had in mind when he and the MLB brain trust expanded the playoffs to add one additional Wild Card team last season. With one game left to play each, three American League teams will battle it out for the two Wild Card playoff berths. Even better, the dust may not be completely settled by day’s end; we may need a few one-off tiebreaker games before the playoffs begin to determine who makes it, and who starts building for next season.
Here are the standings heading into the final day of the season.
With a one game lead, Cleveland is guaranteed at least a spot in a tiebreak game. Tampa and Texas are currently tied for the second and final spot. Which takes us to today’s games – pivotal for all three teams.
Rays at Blue Jays – 1:07 p.m.
Matt Moore (16-4, 3.23 ERA) vs. Mike Redmond (4-2, 3.77 ERA)
Indians at Twins – 2:10 p.m.
Ubaldo Jimenez (12-9, 3.38 ERA) vs. Scott Diamond (6-12, 5.54 ERA)
Angels at Rangers – 3:05 p.m.
Jason Vargas (9-7, 4.01 ERA) vs. Yu Darvish (13-9, 2.82 ERA)
Major League Baseball has announced the potential tiebreaker schedules in the event today’s action is not enough to determine the playoff picture completely.
If there is a two-way tie between the Rays and Rangers for the second Wild Card spot, the two teams will play each other on Monday night at 8:07 in Texas (since Texas has the better head-to-head record at 4-3).
If there is a three-way tie, the Indians and Rays would play first in Cleveland Monday at 4:07 p.m., with the winner advancing to the Wild Card Game. The loser would play at Texas on Tuesday at 4:07 p.m., with the winner earning the second berth to the Wild Card Game, which would be played on Wednesday.
There has never been a three-way tie in the brief history of the two Wild Card team playoff format, and you can bet that the MLB has its fingers crossed that this year allows them to debut and showcase their three-way tiebreaker system.
Extra playoff-atmosphere baseball? I’d be all for it. So I’ll be rooting against the Indians and for the Rays and Rangers this afternoon. What, you say football is on? Pass. I’ve got much more exciting things to watch on my Sunday.