For those of you who follow baseball, today matters. Rarely has the 162nd game of the season determined so much. Going into today, the Rays and the Yankees are tied atop the American League East. Meanwhile, in the National League, the Braves and the Padres are tied for the Wild Card. And with one game left of the regular season, the Giants lead the Padres in the NL West by one single game.
Here's what needs to happen for my Braves to make it into the playoffs today:
First, they have to win. Secondly, the Padres have to lose. That would be the easiest path to the playoffs for them. If this were to occur, the Padres would be eliminated today.
However, a couple of other things could happen today that would still leave the door open for the Braves. If both the Padres and Braves lose today, they would play a tie-break game to decide the National League Wild Card--the 163rd game of the regular season.
Also, if the Padres win today and the Braves win, the Padres would play a single game tie-break against the Giants to determine the winner of the NL West. The loser would then go on to play a single game tie-break against the Braves for the NL Wild Card.
For you Padres fans, here's what needs to happen for the Padres to make it into the playoffs:
If the Padres were to beat the Giants today, the Padres would win the NL West. If the Braves were to lose, the Giants would then become the NL Wild Card. Obviously, the previous tie-break scenarios could also result in the Padres (rather than the Braves) going to the playoffs.
As for the Giants, they seem to have one of the easiest paths to the postseason. If the Giants beat the Padres today, their magic number is 1 and they would go straight to the playoffs as the NL West winner. This happens because the Padres are playing their division rival the Giants.
I don't much care what happens today in the American League, but for those of you following that, here are the scenarios for the American League:
The American League is much less complicated, though still totally undecided. With the American League East tied up between the Yankees and the Rays, today will determine how things match up in the postseason. If the Rays lose today and the Yankees win, the Yankees win the AL East and the Rays would then be the AL Wild Card. If the Rays win and the Yankees win, the Rays would still win the division and the Yankees the Wild Card. Why? Because the Rays hold a 10-8 season series record against the Yankees. Mostly, it is out of the hands of the Yankees. The best they can do is win and hope the Rays lose.
Did you follow that? If not, Major League Baseball's website has a nice rundown of today's scenarios.
The Yankees/Red Sox game begins at 1:35 p.m. (EST) and will be carried by TBS on cable. The Braves/Phillies game will begin at 1:35 p.m. (EST) and will be available on MLB.TV and possibly other satellite providers. And, the Giants/Padres square off at 4:05 p.m. (EST).