In the National League, the Washington Nationals can clinch the senior circuit’s number one seed with a victory over the Phillies at 1:05, but to do so they’ll need to get through Cliff Lee. Hey, remember when Lee said he picked the Phillies over the Yankees because it was where he had the best chance to win multiple rings? Yeah, how’s that working out for ya? If the Nats falter, Cincinnati can swoop in to take the top spot with a victory over St. Louis. That game gets underway at 8:15 P.M. Want real craziness?
With a Cardinals’ loss and a win over the Giants, a team that’s already set in the third seed and is focused on getting ready for the ALDS, the Dodgers can force a one game playoff for the N.L.’s second wild card spot tomorrow, with the winner merely getting the right to play in Friday’s official wild card game in Atlanta. I’m not exactly sure where that game would be played, but how would you like to have to play for your life in Los Angeles on Thursday, then turn around and do the same thing in Atlanta the very next night? I know what I’ll be rooting for tonight! (The Dodgers, of course, lost last night, so all of that was moot as the Cardinals have already clinched the second wild card spot. This is what I get for spending all of that time committing the various playoff scenarios to memory last night).
Of course, if you’re worried about the Yankees you’re focused on the American League playoff situation, and just like the N.L., there are three games that are relevant to you here. The Rangers and A’s will finish their season in the most meaningful of fashions: With the A.L. West crown on the line. That game also has implications for the Yankees’ pursuit of the top seed in the A.L., as a Texas win means that they merely need to win the A.L. East in some fashion to get the top spot, with an Oakland victory means that they have to win tonight’s game against Boston to get that honor. There’s apparently no national television coverage of this game scheduled, though I would assume that MLB Network would have a generous number of live look ins of the game at the least.
As for that A.L. East race, both of those games will start a little after 7:00 P.M. EST, and be covered on the ESPN family of networks. The Yankees and Red Sox will be on the mothership, unless you’re in the New York or Boston markets, and the Orioles and Rays can be seen on ESPN2, unless you’re in the Mid-Atlantic or Tampa areas. You know the score there: a Yankees’ win clinches everything for the Bombers, while a loss opens up the possibility of a 163rd game for the division title tomorrow night.
Obviously there’s a lot of potential stress that you can feel as a baseball fan this time of year, and it’s magnified relative to what Yankee fans are used to this year, but remember: October only comes once a year, and it’s the absolute best time to be a baseball fan. So try to enjoy it while it’s there, especially until we get past all of that Mayan business at least.