October 2nd will mark the final day of MLB’s regular season. Despite there only being one day left in the season, the playoff picture is fall from clear. In the American League, the divisions have all been clinched. The Wild Card, however, is bringing high drama. Baltimore lost to the Yankees Saturday, so their lead over Toronto for the Wild Card has vanished, with both teams now having the same record. Both teams lead the Wild Card by one-and-a-half games over Detroit and Seattle (Seattle is currently in action).
Going into the final day of the season, the Blue Jays need to try once again to defeat the Boston Red Sox at Fenway, while the Orioles need to try taking down the Yankees. The Tigers seemed to have had the best weekend-matchup, having the opportunity to be the final away team to visit Turner Field, but so far, they have split this weekend’s series. If the Tigers win and Baltimore or Toronto lose, then the Tigers will have a make-up game Monday again the Central’s champions, the Cleveland Indians. Then, there are the Seattle Mariners, who are doing battle this weekend with the Oakland Athletics, at home. If they lose, then they would find themselves in a similar must-win situation as the Tigers, the difference being that they don’t have any scheduled make-up games for Monday.
In the National League, the Nationals, Dodgers, and the Cubs have won their respective divisions. The New York Mets have locked on the first Wild Card spot, but now the Giants and the Cardinals are fighting for the last spot. On Saturday, St. Louis defeated Pittsburgh, and San Francisco defeated the Dodgers. The Giants hold a one-game lead over the Cardinals going into the last day of action, but if the Giants lose and the Cardinals win, then it would force a one-game playoff between each team for the second Wild Card spot.
With Verlander going tomorrow for the Tigers, it’s tough to imagine the Tigers not finding some way to squeak out a win against the Braves. David Price is supposed to match-up against Aaron Sanchez tomorrow. With the Red Sox already clinching the division, and Texas already owning home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, Toronto could have the opportunity to defeat the Red Sox if John Farrell decides to keep the leash on Price long enough for him to get his work in, but short enough to keep him fresh for the playoffs.
The Mariners, at home, with King Felix throwing against the A’s, the Mariners should be able to take care of their own business, and put themselves in a position to potentially force a one-game playoff if the teams ahead of them lose.
With the Orioles throwing Gausman against Cessa, that match-up will be a difficult one to predict. The Yankees have gone 5-5 over their last ten, and the Orioles have gone 6-4. The Orioles have the opportunity of maintaining their Wild Card spot to play for, but the Yankees will have the chance to play the spoiler. This match-up should be a fascinating one from the Bronx.
The St. Louis Cardinals should be able to win on the final day, as they are at home with Wainwright throwing against Vogelsong and the Pirates. With everything to play for, with a far-betters starter on the mound, it’s tough to go against the Cardinals in this situation. Expect them to take care of their business.
That leaves the Giants. Matt Moore faces off against Kenta Maeda. Much like the Orioles/Yankees game, this one should be a fun one to watch. Of course, fans of the “Giants win the World Series every-other-year” theory will assume the Giants lock this up and go all the way. Much like the Red Sox’s situation, look for Maeda to get enough work in to stay loose, but not enough to wear him out. I’d give this advantage to the San Francisco Giants.
If I had to choose who would become the Wild Card winners of each league, I would assume Baltimore and Toronto both hold on. Then the Mets end up hosting against the Giants. From there, the playoffs become a season in their right, full of possibilities and results that are much more challenging to predict.