Now it's getting really interesting, folks. The Padres completed their second consecutive win in San Francisco, while the Braves just finished losing again at home to the Phillies. With one day left in the regular season, the Giants have 91 wins, while the Braves and Padres are tied on 90. Sunday sees San Diego try to snatch one more victory in San Francisco, and Atlanta seeks to avoid the sweep against Philadelphia.
After the jump, we'll take a look at the four possible outcomes from tomorrow's games.
Braves/Giants win. The simplest of all. Giants win the NL West, Braves take the wild-card. Everyone concerned heaves a sigh of relief. Except San Diego, of course.
- Phillies/Giants win. Giants take the NL West. Braves face the Padres in a one-game playoff at Turner Field on Monday to determine the wild-card winner.
- Phillies/Padres win. Padres take the NL West, based on a better head-to-head record (13-5) against the Giants, but San Francisco get the wild-card, with one more W than Atlanta.
- Braves/Padres win. Or, as Bud Selig refers to it, "The Doomsday Scenario," because all three teams would then finish with 91 wins. In the event of... Wait - I think we'll go for a new paragraph.
In the event of all three teams ending level, the Giants and Padres would play a one-game playoff in San Diego on Monday to determine the NL West champion. The loser would travel to Turner Field on Tuesday, for a contest to decide the NL Wild-Card The winner of that contest then goes on to play in the NLDS on Wednesday. If it's SF or SD, that would be their fourth game, in four days, in four different cities.
For the moment, however, the National League playoff schedule contains so many TBD's, that you might be forgiven for thinking the Rays had moved over to the Senior Circuit. Remarkably, all three teams had playoff odds above 96% at some point: Braves (96.1%, 9/30); Padres (97.2%, 8/25); Giants (96.3%, 9/30). Whatever happens and whoever misses out, it's going to count as one of the biggest collapses in baseball history.
Meanwhile, there's still something to be decided back east, where the Rays and Yankees both enter Sunday at 95-66 - the Rays having gotten here following a win on Saturday, while the Yankees split a doubleheader in Boston. If the Rays defeat the Royals, they will be crowned winners of the AL East, no matter what the Yankees do. Tampa Bay can also take the division if they and the Yankees both lose, as the Rays claimed the season series 10-8. The only way for the Yankees to win the AL East is if they defeat the Red Sox, and the Rays lose to the Royals.
The winner of the AL East will host the Rangers in the ALDS, while the Twins will host the Wild Card.