Skip to content

Three exciting days left in the regular season

Oct 1, 2012, 11:00 AM EDT

Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter looks on during play against the Toronto Blue Jays in their first game of a double header during an MLB American League baseball game in Baltimore

We are down to the final three days of the regular season, and there is so much still to be decided. Here’s an overview for the craziness that will be afoot between now and Wednesday night:

The Races:

The teams involved in the playoffs are close to being set. The Yankees, Orioles and Rangers have clinched three of the five playoff spots in the American League. The Nationals, Braves, Reds and Giants have clinched four of the five in the NL.  All that’s left as far as the participants go are the identity of the AL Central representative and the final two wild card teams.

  • The Tigers have a three-game lead over the fading White Sox in the AL Central. One Tigers win in any of their final three games against the Royals in Kansas City or one White Sox loss in any of their final three in Cleveland gives the division crown to Detroit.
  • As for the wild card, in the American League, the Athletics are one win — or one Angels loss — in any of the final three games away from clinching.  The A’s play their final series at home against the Texas Rangers.  The Angels play their final three on the road against the Mariners.
  • In the National League, the Cardinals are two wins — or two Dodgers losses — in any of the final three games away from clinching.  The Cardinals finish up at home against the Reds. The Dodgers finish up at home against the Giants.

But making the postseason isn’t everything. Not in this new world of the one-game wild card playoff.  That’s what the Yankees and Orioles are playing for in the AL East. They are in a deadlock at 92-67, and each want like the dickens to avoid having to play that all-or-nothing wild card game on Friday.  The Orioles play their final three at Tropicana Field against the hot, hot Tampa Bay Rays.  The Yankees finish up at home against the Red Sox.

Technically speaking the Nationals and Rangers have not yet clinched their divisions either, but each hold a three-game lead over their pursuers — the Braves and Athletics, respectively — so any one win by the leader or one loss by the second place team ends those races as well.

The most likely playoff matchups:

The most likely outcomes right now would lead to the following playoff matchups:

  • Wild card playoff: The Cardinals vs. Braves in Atlanta and the loser of the AL East — my guess is the Orioles due to that tough series against Tampa Bay — facing off against the Athletics.  That game will be played in the home park of the team with the better record.
  • Division Series:  The wild card team that advances to the Division Series will face the team with the best record in the league.  At present, the Reds and Nationals have identical 96-63 records. Currently the Rangers have the best record in the AL, but both the Orioles and Yankees are only a game behind.  The upshot: we won’t know until Wednesday who the wild card playoff winner will face.

Awards:

  • AL MVP:  If the season ended today, Miguel Cabrera would win the Triple Crown. But it doesn’t end today, and his lead for the batting title (.325 to Joe Mauer‘s .323 and Mike Trout‘s .321) and the home run title (tied with Josh Hamilton at 43) are razor-thin.  Many suspect that if Cabrera wins the Triple Crown — a feat which has not been accomplished since 1967 — he will win the MVP.  Others — including your dear author — believe that winning the Triple Crown, however rare and admirable a feat that is does not make up for the fact that Mike Trout is the better all-around player, posting batting numbers that are close to Cabrera’s, but standing as the far, far superior defender and baserunner.
  • NL MVP: The National League has a close race for the MVP as well, although only one of the leading candidates — Buster Posey — is on a playoff-bound team.  Ryan Braun and Andrew McCutchen are still in the conversation.
  • Cy Young Award: The Cy Young Award races are fairly wide open. In the National League R.A. Dickey still has one start remaining, and we’re likely to still see appearances from the relief candidates who have bandied about: Craig Kimbrel and Aroldis Chapman.  The AL Cy Young is even more up-f0r-grabs. Neither Justin Verlander nor David Price will start again, however. Jered Weaver will pitch on the last day of the season and, though remote, it’s possible he’ll be trying to pitch the Angels into the playoffs.
  • Rookies, Managers of the Year: Rookies of the Year haven’t gotten much talk of late, but Mike Trout is a mortal lock in the American League. Wade Miley of the Arizona Diamondbacks looks to be the front runner in the senior circuit.  Most folks figure that Buck Showalter and Davey Johnson have the Manager of the Year awards locked up, and nothing that happens this week will change that.

Three days left. So much already decided, yes. But still so much to play for. Buckle up, everyone.

Latest Posts
  1. VIDEO: Royals utilize speed for walk-off win against White Sox; keep pace with Tigers

    Sep 16, 2014, 12:09 AM EDT

    royals

    Pinch-runners Jarrod Dyson and Terrance Gore proved to be the difference in a thrilling win for Kansas City.

  2. Albert Pujols leaves game with hamstring cramp

    Sep 15, 2014, 11:29 PM EDT

    Albert Pujols AP AP

    Pujols suffered the injury while running to second base on a three-run double.

  3. Giants activate Brandon Belt from disabled list

    Sep 15, 2014, 11:09 PM EDT

    Brandon Belt Brandon Belt

    Belt has been limited to just five games since July 19 due to concussion symptoms.

  4. Anibal Sanchez could return as a reliever

    Sep 15, 2014, 10:25 PM EDT

    Anibal Sanchez Getty Getty Images

    Sanchez has been sidelined since early August with a right pectoral strain.

  5. MLB suspends Jonathan Papelbon seven games for incident during Sunday’s game

    Sep 15, 2014, 9:21 PM EDT

    Jonathan Papelbon Getty Getty Images

    Papelbon made a lewd gesture at fans and had a confrontation with umpire Joe West during Sunday’s game.

  6. Bryce Harper exits game after feeling lightheaded

    Sep 15, 2014, 8:35 PM EDT

    Bryce Harper Getty Getty Images

    Harper struck out in his lone at-bat in the top of the second inning before Nate Schierholtz replaced him as a pinch-hitter in the fourth inning.

  7. Ryan Zimmerman hoping to rejoin Nationals for final week

    Sep 15, 2014, 8:15 PM EDT

    Miami Marlins v Washington Nationals AP

    He last played on July 22 and previously missed time with shoulder problems that have plagued him, but he did hit .282 with five homers and an .802 OPS in 53 games when healthy enough to be in the lineup.

  8. VIDEO: Jacob deGrom begins game with eight straight strikeouts to tie MLB record

    Sep 15, 2014, 7:59 PM EDT

    Jacob deGrom Getty AP

    Jim DeShaies previously did it with the Astros in a start against the Dodgers on September 23, 1986.

  9. Danny Duffy not expected to rejoin Royals’ rotation until next Monday

    Sep 15, 2014, 7:35 PM EDT

    Danny Duffy AP

    Duffy hasn’t pitched since September 6 due to rotator cuff inflammation.

  10. Bud Selig says MLB and players union will meet this week about domestic abuse policy

    Sep 15, 2014, 7:04 PM EDT

    Bud Selig Getty Getty Images

    The union must sign off on a policy before any changes are put into effect.

  11. Hyun-Jin Ryu does not have structural damage, could be available for playoffs

    Sep 15, 2014, 6:48 PM EDT

    Hyun-Jin Ryu Hyun-Jin Ryu

    Dodgers left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu exited his Friday start after just one inning with shoulder pain, but an MRI revealed relatively positive news: Ryu does not have structural damage and has been diagnosed with inflammation.

  12. Matt Harvey throws simulated game, takes break until 2015

    Sep 15, 2014, 6:30 PM EDT

    Matt Harvey Getty Getty Images

    “Everything we were trying to accomplish this season has been accomplished.”

  13. Evan Gattis missing seventh straight game with strep throat

    Sep 15, 2014, 6:15 PM EDT

    Gattis Getty Getty Images

    Gattis met with team doctors Monday in attempt to find an answer with his illness.

  14. Vic Black likely done for the season with strained rotator cuff

    Sep 15, 2014, 5:47 PM EDT

    Vic Black Getty Getty Images

    Mets reliever Vic Black has been shut down with a shoulder injury just one week after returning from a disabled list stint for a herniated disk in his back.

  15. Alex Avila out of lineup with lightheadedness after foul tip to mask

    Sep 15, 2014, 5:17 PM EDT

    Alex Avila AP AP

    Avila has suffered multiple concussions since last season and also missed time earlier this month after taking a foul tip off the mask.

  16. Rays call up Nick Franklin from Triple-A

    Sep 15, 2014, 4:46 PM EDT

    nick franklin getty Getty Images

    Tampa Bay has called up switch-hitting infielder Nick Franklin, whom the Rays acquired from the Mariners on July 31 in the three-team trade revolving around David Price.

  17. Anthony Rizzo rejoins the Cubs’ lineup after back injury

    Sep 15, 2014, 4:16 PM EDT

    Anthony Rizzo AP

    Rizzo was having a breakout season before the injury, hitting .278 with 30 homers and an .889 OPS in 129 games at age 24.

  18. Mike Hessman, 15 homers shy of the all-time minor league mark, contemplates his future

    Sep 15, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT

    Mike Hessman

    “Full many a flower is born to blush unseen, And waste its sweetness on the desert air.” — Thomas Gray. Or William Cullen Bryant. I don’t know, I get them mixed up.

  19. Masahiro Tanaka pitches another simulated game

    Sep 15, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT

    masahiro tanaka getty Getty Images

    Hope he comes back soon so the Yankees have a shot at making the simulated playoffs.

  20. Paul Konerko wants to return this weekend in some capacity

    Sep 15, 2014, 3:15 PM EDT

    Paul Konerko Getty Images

    White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko has insisted that he’ll return from a fractured bone in his left hand to play again before his scheduled retirement, even if it means doing so at less than 100 percent.

Featured video

Papelbon destined to be traded?
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. G. Stanton (3462)
  2. B. Belt (2174)
  3. A. Rizzo (2073)
  4. C. Young (1997)
  5. J. Hamilton (1985)
  1. B. Gardner (1966)
  2. R. Castillo (1929)
  3. H. Ryu (1778)
  4. D. Pedroia (1712)
  5. C. Davis (1708)