Yesterday's Game: Indians 6, Royals 3
So far this weekend, the Indians have had their cake and eaten it too. They've been able to get everyone playing time but not too much playing, even able to see how players deal with new roles (such as Mike Clevinger pitching in relief). And because they've been able to take the first two games of the series, they now are in a position to capture home-field advantage.
Given that the Indians are only going to use three starters in the ALDS, this does make sense on a couple levels. First, it gives Corey Kluber one more day to recover from the quad strain. Also, Bauer is a better fit to start on three days' rest, especially with Kluber's injury. That mean Mike Clevinger is going to pitch out of the bullpen, at least for the ALDS.
That record against the Tigers and Royals is the key to the Indians' season, for if they were even .500 against both teams, they might be out of contention today.
Expect lots of articles about Terry Francona and his tenure with the Red Sox over the next couple days.
The dreams of a four-way tie ended when the A's beat the Mariners in extra innings last night. but even so, there's plenty of games that mean something on this final (?) day of the season. Here's a quick viewing guide:
(Note that all MLB games today will start at or shortly after 3 PM Eastern)
AL Wild Card
Baltimore 88-73 - at New York Yankees, 3:05 PM
Toronto 88-73 - at Boston, 3:05 PM
Detroit 86-74 (1.5 games back) - at Atlanta, 3:10 PM
If Detroit wins, and one or both of Baltimore/Toronto loses, the Indians will be traveling to Detroit on Monday. And if Detroit wins on Monday, there will be at least one tiebreaker game played. If there's a three-way tie, the Blue Jays, who have the best head-to-head record among the three teams, would be able to pick "team A" status, meaning they would have two shots at clinching a spot,
both at home the first at home. Baltimore, who has the second-best record, would have the difficult decision of either having two shots at getting into the playoffs, both on the road, or one shot, but at home.
NL Wild Card
San Francisco 86-75 - Los Angeles, 3:05 PM
St. Louis (1 game back) - Pittsburgh, 3:05 PM
This one is quite a bit simpler. If the Giants lose and the Cardinals win, the two teams will play a tiebreaker tomorrow night in St. Louis, so the NL Wild Card game will not have to be pushed back. The Mets clinched their spot in the Wild Card game by beating the Phillies yesterday.
AL #2 Seed
Cleveland 93-67 - at Kansas City, 3:15 PM
Boston 93-68 - Toronto, 3:05 PM
If the Indians and Red Sox both win, or the Indians and the Red Sox both lose, the Indians will need to win in Detroit to capture the #2 seed. If the Indians win and the Red Sox lose, then the Indians have HFA no matter what happens on Monday. If the Indians lose and the Red Sox win, then the Red Sox have HFA no matter what happens on Monday.
Speaking of Monday, here's the scenarios in which the game will be necessary:
1. Indians win, Red Sox win
2. Indians lose, Red Sox lose
3. Tigers win, Orioles and/or Blue Jays lose
Here's the scenarios in which the game will not be played:
1. Indians lose, Red Sox win, Tigers lose (Red Sox HFA, Tigers eliminated)
2. Indians win, Red Sox lose, Tigers lose (Indians HFA, Tigers eliminated)
Indians lose, Red Sox win, Toronto and Baltimore win (Red Sox HFA, Tigers eliminated)
4. Indians win, Red Sox lose, Toronto and Baltimore win (Indians HFA, Tigers eliminated)
Because Detroit lost yesterday, there are many more ways to avoid a game on Monday than there would have been had the Tigers won.