With just one full day of games remaining in the 2013 MLB season, we still have some major business to sort out. After an exciting round of games Saturday, the Cleveland Indians, Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers are still vying for the two wild card spots in the American League.
Powered by Scott Kazmir's 11-strikeout outing Saturday, the Indians are in a position of power after beating the Minnesota Twins, 5-1. Now 91-70 on the season, Cleveland has a one-game lead over the Rangers and Rays with one final game remaining. Another win on Sunday would put the team into the playoffs.
However, a loss could quickly complicate the entire scenario for all three teams. With both Tampa Bay and Texas at 90-71 after Saturday's action, it's possible all three teams could finish 91-71, leading to a wild series of games to sort everything out as explained by MLB:
If there's a three-way tie, the Indians would host the Rays on Monday, with the winner becoming the first A.L. Wild Card. The loser of that game would then head to Texas to play the Rangers on Tuesday night, with the winner becoming the other A.L. Wild Card team. The loser of this game would then be eliminated from the playoffs.
Essentially, if Cleveland loses Sunday while Texas and Tampa Bay both win, the playoffs would begin early for all three clubs. In a different scenario, the Rays and Rangers could play a one-game playoff Monday should those two teams finish in a two-way tie through 162 games.
The Rays had a chance to join Cleveland at the top of the wild card standings on Saturday against Toronto, but the bullpen faltered after a brief start from Chris Archer. This is a big deal after the Rangers got to Garrett Richards early in a 7-4 victory over the mistake-ridden Angels, who committed five errors.
With Los Angeles unable to slam the door on the Rangers' season and Tampa Bay losing a second consecutive game, we enter the final day of the season with an exciting dose of uncertainty. In this instance, the multiple wild card format implemented by MLB is working like a charm.