So, here we are, at the last weekend of the regular season. The AL playoff picture has been clear for a while now, as far as who the four teams would be. But almost any combination–other than Yankees vs. Red Sox–still remains possible for the first-round match-ups. Each AL playoff team will win at least 92 games and it is still possible–if not exactly likely–that each could have 95. All four remain in contention for league’s best record, though both the Indians and Red Sox would need to lose their season-ending series for either the Yankees or Angels to be in that position, even by sweeping their own series.1 The Angels have spent this past week squandering a good shot at best record, or at least at a better record than the Indians, which is what they needed to open at home against the wild card winner (still most likely the team they love to beat up on, the Yankees) instead of on the road in the east (most likely Boston, where they have not played so well). As of the start of games today, the Yankees and Angels now have identical records (92-67).
Meanwhile, in the JV League, no team yet has 90 wins, and only one, at most, can finish with as many as 92. Seven teams are within two games of a playoff berth. The Rockies are riding an 11-game winning streak–and, amazingly, still could win the West if they have a good final series against current leader, the Diamondbacks. The Phillies have caught the Mets for a first place tie in the east, after the Mets had threatened earlier in the year to run away with it. And the Diamondbacks still could wind up with the best record in the league despite having been outscored over the course of the season. (Going into today’s games, they have been outscored, albeit now by only 11 runs, well down from where it was.) I am not sure whether this weekend will be exciting or embarrassing for the NL. But it is sure to be interesting.
- If the two East teams end with the same record, the Yankees have the tiebreaker (head-to-head record); the Yankees and Red Sox each won their season series against the Indians, but the Indians and Angels split their season series. I am not sure how a tie between them would be broken to determine seeding. [↩]