Many scenarios for American League final weekend

UPDATE (Oct. 1, 2:22 PDT): The three-team tie scenario is now gone. What a shame. We could still have a tiebreaker on Monday for the wild card between Cleveland and Boston at Fenway, if the Red Sox beat the Yankees Sunday and the Indians manage to salvage their last game in Chicago. But it looks like the Angels will draw the now-crowned east-division champion Yankees in the first round of the playoffs. Hmmm, that would be a repeat of 2002. I liked the way it turned out last time!

Well, the final weekend is upon us. In the American League, we were deprived of considerable drama when the Chicago White Sox clinched before the start of their season-ending series against the Cleveland Indians. However, the Indians remain in the wild-card hunt. More importantly, we have yet another epic showdown between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. Three games, and because Cleveland remains alive, the Red Sox and Yankees series is potentially winner-take-all.

The most interesting scenario of all is a 3-way tie between Cleveland, New York, and Boston. This will happen if Boston takes two of three from New York and Cleveland takes two of three from Chicago. In that case, the Yankees and Red Sox play a one-game playoff for the East division and then the loser plays Cleveland for the wild card.

Of the sixteen possible outcomes of the two series, five of them involve at least one tiebreaker game early next week. Three scenarios (and a fourth that requires the Yankees to win a one-game playoff) involve both New York and Boston advancing. That means that if they were both to win their Division Series playoffs, they could meet in yet another potentially epic ALCS. But that could not possibly be as interesting as the last two, so better to avoid it by elimianting one of them this weekend or in a tiebreaker and/or seeing the Angels win the Division Series!

This will be an interesting weekend, and who can possibly keep all the scenarios in one’s head? Luckily, you do not have to. Just download my handy guide to the scenarios (PDF).

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