159 GAMES HAVE brought divisional titles to the Braves, Cardinals, Padres, White Sox and Angels.
But we still have two wild cards to sort out. Oh, and a little thing some people call the AL East between the Yankees and the Red Sox.
The weekend’s undercard features the NL Wild Card, where the Astros lead the Phillies by 2 games. Houston’s mission is clear: Win 2 more games against the Cubs. While Philly’s destiny is controlled in the Lone Star State, they will eliminate themselves if they drop 2 of their final games against the Nationals. But if the Phillies sweep the Nats and the Astros get mauled by the Cubs in all 3 games, then Philly takes the WC outright. If the Phillies can tie back up with the Astros, we’ll have a one-game playoff next week.
That’s the easy part. Now comes the AL. (WARNING: Explanations not for the easily confused.)
The White Sox staved off cataclysmic disappointment by holding on to their division lead with a 4-2 victory in Detroit. Even when the Indians reeled in the D-Rays 6-0 last night to keep the South Siders within 3 games, the White Sox would win the tiebreaker even if the Indians were to sweep the Sox this weekend*.
So while the White Sox wash off the victory bubbly and head to Cleveland, the Yankees roll in to Boston with a 1 game lead over their reddish rivals.
The $200 Million Men need to win 2 of 3 and they’re in. The Red Sox need a full-out sweep to claim the East crown. If Boston takes 2 of 3, they will pull even with the Yankees and force a one-game playoff.
But then there’s the Wild Card, which is now the Indians’ only hope to play more October baseball.
If the Indians sweep Chicago they’re the Wild Card winners.
If the Indians win 2 of 3 They win the Wild Card if Boston loses 2 of 3 or the Yankees get swept OR they would play a one-game playoff against the Yankees if they are swept OR if Boston wins 2 of three there would be a three-way tie** for the AL East/Wild Card.
If the Indians win 1 of 3 they win the Wild Card if Boston gets swept OR play a one-game playoff against Boston if they win 1 of 3 OR play a one-game playoff against New York if they are swept OR are out entirely if Boston wins at least 2 games.
If the Indians get swept they play a one-game playoff against Boston ONLY IF the Red Sox get swept as well. Otherwise they’re out.
* — If the Indians sweep the White Sox, they will have the same record (96-66) but the White Sox will win the season head-to-head 11-8. Normally they would play a one-game playoff but since both teams would make the playoffs anyway (it would be mathematically impossible for the loser of the Yanks-Sox series to pull ahead of the WSox-Indians tie) then an extra game is unnecessary and they bank on the statsheet tie-breakers.
** — A three-way tie between the Yankees, Red Sox and Indians would result in two playoff games. Playoff Game 1 would be between the Yankees and Red Sox for the AL East title. The loser of that game plays the second game against the Indians for the Wild Card.Powered by Sidelines