How did this come to be? We somehow have reached the final day of the Major League Baseball regular season. Unless, that is, there are overhang games tomorrow! Any tiebreakers to determine remaining postseason slots count as regular season games. And as we prepare for the start of play on this last scheduled day, there remain realistic scenarios in which we could get as many as three such games!
The AL Wild Card has turned into a mash-up, with four teams–all but one from the AL East (the Mariners, really?)–still having the potential to end in a tie for the two slots. Failing that, two or three could tie for the second WC. I am tempted to call this a crush of four mediocre teams, but that really would not be fair. All enter today with either 91 or 90 wins. If all four are tied at the end of the day, there will be two games in the AL on Monday to determine which two reach the first AL postseason game. If three tie for the second WC, there will be two games to break that tie, spread across two days, under the tiebreaker rules.
In the NL West, we could still see the Giants and Dodgers tie for the division; these two are absolutely not mediocre teams! The Giants enter the final day with 106 wins, the Dodgers 105. If you want to see mediocrity, see the NL East winning Braves, with only 87 wins but a guaranteed berth in the Division Series. While both West teams clinched a postseason berth a while ago, if they finish with identical records, they need a tiebreaker on Monday (in San Francisco, based on head-to-head records) to determine which one is the division winner and which is the first Wild Card. The latter then gets one shot at knocking off a hot Cardinals team that will have finished 14 or 15 games behind the first Wild Card. As I have said before (just click and see the series going back several years), this is a dumb format.
If the second place team in the NL West beats the Cards in the Wild Card Game, the Dodgers and Giants will play each other in the Division Series. I am tempted to say we’ve probably had enough Dodgers-Giants for the year, but I can’t deny that the old rivalry would be fun. However, it would be better if their next potential match-up (after the potential division tiebreaker) would be for the pennant itself, and not a qualifier to face the vastly inferior Braves or Brewers for the honor. That bad format again.
It will be a fun day, and with none of “my” teams in it, I am just rooting for maximum overhang!