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What’s left to play for in Game 162?

Oct 3, 2012, 8:23 AM EDT

Oakland Athletics relief pitcher Grant Balfour celebrates after the Athletics defeated the Texas Rangers during their MLB baseball game in Oakland

We’ve played 161 games and still not everything is decided. What’s left?

American League

The Yankees hold a one-game lead over the Orioles. A New York win or an Orioles loss gives the division to the Yankees.  If the Bombers lose and the O’s win, we have a one-game playoff tomorrow, in Baltimore, to see who has to play in the wild card game.  If the Yankees win today, they also clinch home field advantage in the AL playoffs.

The Rangers and A’s are all tied up. No tiebreaker scenarios here. Winner takes all, starting just after noon Pacific time today, in Oakland.

National League

The Dodgers loss to the Giants last night sealed the wild card for the St. Louis Cardinals. Everything is now decided in the National League. St. Louis heads to Atlanta on Friday for the wild card game. The winner of that one plays the Nationals in the NLDS. If the Reds win tonight and the Nationals lose, the Reds will have the best record in the NL, forcing the Nats to travel to San Francisco for the NLDS while the Reds play the wild card playoff winner.

Triple Crown/MVP

Miguel Cabrera went 2 for 3 last night, pushing his average up to .331. He leads Mike Trout by .007 points now.  Even if Cabrera takes an 0 for 4 today and Trout goes 4 for 4, they tie at .3285.  You figure that, even if he plays, Cabrera would be yanked if he went, like, 0 for 2. And for what it’s worth, if Cabrera totally sits out today, Trout has to go 6 for 6, so yeah. In any event, the Angels game starts 90 minutes before the Tigers game does today. Jim Leyland and everyone else will know if Trout goes on a tear.

The real threat is Josh Hamilton, playing a big game in Oakland today. But let’s define “real.”  Hamilton would have to hit two homers and Cabrera none for Cabrera to lose out on the home run portion of the Triple Crown.  He has the RBI title in the bag.

Skip out on the afternoon at work and watch the A’s-Rangers game, guys.

  1. hammdoo - Oct 3, 2012 at 8:30 AM

    If the Nationals lose today and the Reds win tonight, the Nationals will travel to the Giants and the Reds will travel to the wildcard playoff winner…. so National League is not quite decided

    • umrguy42 - Oct 3, 2012 at 8:50 AM

      I’m confused by this, especially since I keep hearing it. Why would the best record travel to the WC? I obviously missed something in the changes for this year – can somebody please bring me up to speed?

      • hisgirlgotburrelled - Oct 3, 2012 at 8:56 AM

        New NLDS format 2-3, starts in lower seed’s city

      • Paul Zummo - Oct 3, 2012 at 8:58 AM

        They changed the format back to 2-3, meaning that the team with “home field” advantage travels for the first two games, and then hosts the next three, if necessary. Ridiculous change.

      • natstowngreg - Oct 3, 2012 at 9:02 AM

        The best record travels to the wild card game winner because MLB screwed up. The screwup was created by MLB’s haste to set up the new playoff system. MLB says the screwup only happens this season. We can only hope so.

      • Lukehart80 - Oct 3, 2012 at 9:05 AM

        The change is ridiculous, but it’s only for this year, as MLB was cramming the second wildcard team in after the schedule was set. Next year it will return to 2-2-1.

      • umrguy42 - Oct 3, 2012 at 9:17 AM

        Ah, gotcha. Thanks!

      • jdd428 - Oct 3, 2012 at 11:43 AM

        Actually, that’s still wrong – the 2-3 LDS series only applies to the #1seed vs. wild card winner. The #2 vs. #3 seed LDS series is still a 2-2-1 this season, so the Nationals will still start at home.

      • natstowngreg - Oct 3, 2012 at 12:49 PM

        Not true; the lower-seeded team hosts the first 2 games in every NLDS, and each series is 2-3. See MLB.com’s schedule:
        http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/schedule/ps.jsp?y=12

      • wretchu - Oct 3, 2012 at 1:15 PM

        Yup, this year only. Next year it’s all back to 2-2-1. And even for this year I don’t think it’s a huge disadvantage because in the case of the top seed it still enables them to avoid the opponent’s ace early in the series.

    • alexo0 - Oct 3, 2012 at 9:16 AM

      “If the Reds win tonight and the Nationals lose…”

      Is the Nationals winning and the Reds losing not a possibility?

      • MattJanik - Oct 3, 2012 at 9:44 AM

        Don’t be a tool just to be a tool (or a troll just to be a troll, or a tool just to be a troll, or a troll just to be a tool). The article is about what’s left to be decided today. That scenario would have no bearing on, well, anything. So, yeah.

      • alexo0 - Oct 3, 2012 at 11:31 AM

        I’m not sure I’d go so far as to claim that deciding home field in the NL isn’t “anything”. If we’re talking about what’s left to be decided, we may as well cover everything. Just saying.

      • kevinbnyc - Oct 3, 2012 at 12:46 PM

        Logic < Trolling

    • natstowngreg - Oct 3, 2012 at 4:19 PM

      Now, it’s decided. Nats 5, Phillies 1. Nats finish 98-64, up 17.5 games from 2011.

      The NL scenario is complete. Cards @ Braves Friday. Reds start @ Giants Saturday. Nats start @ Braves/Cards winner Sunday.

  2. randygnyc - Oct 3, 2012 at 8:30 AM

    Conceivably, the Yankees could finish today with a tie with Baltimore and either Oakland or Texas. Oakland can still win the division AND have the best record in the AL, with home field advantage through the playoffs.

  3. willclarkgameface - Oct 3, 2012 at 8:32 AM

    Well, if you’re the Orioles and look to see who the Sox are pitching against the Yankees, you are getting your 25 man roster set for the play-in game versus Texas. Dice K will cough this one up REAL good tonight. And the A’s – and I am amongst MANY who can’t believe we’re saying this – will win the AL West.

    I have been pulling for the A’s the last few weeks because I love the story. MLB hates the whole San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose story so much that they won’t touch it with a ten foot pole. Everyone thought the A’s were gonna be worse than even Seattle. Even Billy Beane seemed to be throwing in the towel in the spring, talking dejectedly about the lack of income due to the Colosseum being one of the worst venues in American sports.

    And now here they are…

    I don’t know how Baltimore is going to fare against Texas if this happens. The only thing going their way right now is that they’re hot, Texas isn’t. Momentum baby. The immeasurable. Postseason baseball.

    The Red Sox should be ashamed of themselves for carting out CRAP against New York this week. They should have won that game last night, but due to Bobby V being a DINK, the closer not closing, and one pinch hitter sitting on the bench while Iglesias – Mr. 108 – hits…what the fuck…

    I am going to love watching this A’s/Rangers game tonight. It’s gonna rock.

    It’s postseason baseball!

    • jolink653 - Oct 3, 2012 at 12:20 PM

      In all honesty though, who did you want the Red Sox to put out there? They have no one left and they pitched their two best starters in the first two games of this series

  4. hojo20 - Oct 3, 2012 at 8:42 AM

    Last call for Dice-K throwing they gyroball in a Sox uniform.

  5. indaburg - Oct 3, 2012 at 8:43 AM

    I’m in a bit of a quandary. I would love for the Yankees to have to sweat out the one game play-in for the real play-offs just because I’m a hater like that. However, that would require a loss by my beloved Rays. I can never root against my team. Of course, the Rays are out of it, so a win or loss means nothing to them at this point. What to do, what to do?

    One easy decision. Cheering for the A’s this afternoon. I love me some underdogs. I’ll be watching.

    • massivedick - Oct 3, 2012 at 11:26 AM

      sometime you got to take one for the greater good …. and the spankees sweating it out is the great good. i’d give my left nut if it mean’t yankees to be left out completely.

  6. crispybasil - Oct 3, 2012 at 8:57 AM

    I hate the Orioles. But dammit, I respect them. And that’s the team I’ll root for.

    • Lukehart80 - Oct 3, 2012 at 9:12 AM

      Out of curiosity, how does one come to hate the Orioles? Does it go back to the 70s or something?

      • crispybasil - Oct 3, 2012 at 9:48 AM

        The Robert Andino at-bats from last year, and the constant trouncing this year, are still fresh in the mind of this Red Sox fan.

      • pdowdy83 - Oct 3, 2012 at 10:50 AM

        Peter Angelos…enough said.

  7. Francisco (FC) - Oct 3, 2012 at 9:11 AM

    The man in the [Braves] Bathrobe moved into the brand new situation room of the Lair. A very large conference table was in the middle. The walls were decked with video monitors showing baseball in all its glory. The others were already seated at the table. Craig took out his bubble pipe from a pocket and puffed a few before sitting on his chair at the end.

    “Gentlemen! Today is Game 162. With much to be reported on and exciting baseball afoot! As your blogger-in-chief I’m divvying up the stories we will focus on. I know two of our regulars usually work the weekend shift, but it’s all hands on deck for this one. Check your topics and raise any concerns you might have.”

    All of them opened up the folders in front of them and took out a page. Aaron was the first to speak up. “Craig, I’m not sure about this, the Cardinals don’t really have anything to play for anymore.”

    Craig looked surprised for one second and then brightened up. “Turn over your page, that’s old.”

    Aaron did so. “Ooh! Bandon Inge Injury Update!”.

    Matthew got the N.L. race between the Reds-Nationals. Menawhile D.J. got the American League races. Drew…

    “Er, Craig, my page is blank… on both sides.”

    Craig briefly stood up and proclaimed: “You will write nothing and you will like it!”

    “Man, still not over that twitter question…”

    “I will handle the Triple Crown and Miguel Cabrera! You have your assignments men! It’s time to go forth and seize the finale!”

    “Just one question Craig,” asked Aaron. Craig looked in his direction expectantly.

    “Why is your chair so much higher than our chairs?”

    “Yeah, is that made out of oak or something?”

    “It’s sculpted too, the armrests end into large baseballs-”

    “Is that Mike Schmidt’s autograph on one of the baseballs-”

    “Did you get our plastic loser chairs from Home Depot or-”

    Craig rolled his eyes. It’s tough to get good minions these days…

    • cur68 - Oct 3, 2012 at 12:10 PM

      He had the at draped around his neck, didn’t he?

      • cur68 - Oct 3, 2012 at 12:11 PM

        er…”Cat” not “at”…jeez…

      • Francisco (FC) - Oct 3, 2012 at 12:20 PM

        Cur cur, did you not watch Inspector Gadget? Obviously the Cat was purring menacingly while laying on his lap.

      • Utley's Hair - Oct 3, 2012 at 1:00 PM

        WHAT THE…?!?!? Great…now I have the Inspector Gadget theme stuck in my head…

    • natstowngreg - Oct 3, 2012 at 12:54 PM

      Tune in tomorrow, when Craig unveils his latest acquisition, an official Atlanta Braves guillotine.

  8. paperlions - Oct 3, 2012 at 9:12 AM

    Shelby Miller making his first MLB start tonight, should be fun….hopefully, they don’t give everyone the day off…would suck to have your first start with Robinson, Chambers, Kozma, Descalso, and Cruz all in the starting lineup. Cinci appears to care about home field advantage….for some strange reason, Davey Johnson doesn’t.

    • natstowngreg - Oct 3, 2012 at 1:01 PM

      For the record, Davey put 5 of his 8 regular position players in the lineup this afternoon, and Edwin Jackson gets the start.

  9. ezthinking - Oct 3, 2012 at 9:16 AM

    Already have my excuses lined up for today.

  10. number42is1 - Oct 3, 2012 at 9:37 AM

    So the Yanks play one game today to see if they have to play one game tomorrow to see who plays one game friday to see who gets to play a 5 game series starting saturday?

    GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO BUD!

    • basedrum777 - Oct 3, 2012 at 11:28 AM

      Yeah if you support this new format with 2 wildcards then you also need to support going back to a 154 game schedule. This is too much. Anyone realize the “great” final day of the season last year happened one year ago like last Thursday? Keeps getting later and later.

    • Utley's Hair - Oct 3, 2012 at 1:11 PM

      Don’t forget that, if they lose tonight and win tomorrow, they get to travel to play on Saturday.

  11. celauritz - Oct 3, 2012 at 9:41 AM

    I’m glad you were never my lawyer, Craig.

    You are aware, that in long division, the decimals keep going, right?

    Cabrera goes 0 for 4: .32852…
    Trout goes 4 for 4: .32857…

    Trout wins batting title.

    • KR - Oct 3, 2012 at 9:49 AM

      No one goes into law because they are good at math.

      • celauritz - Oct 3, 2012 at 10:44 AM

        Nope, but they are detail-oriented. You don’t have to be good at math to go to the 5th decimal if you’re smart enough to go to the 4th.

    • proudlycanadian - Oct 3, 2012 at 9:59 AM

      Just like yesterday, Cabrera will probably only get 3 at bats.

    • kevinbnyc - Oct 3, 2012 at 1:17 PM

      Pretty sure lawyering has nothing to do with math.

  12. witeman10 - Oct 3, 2012 at 10:01 AM

    man, can’t wait for the big game today! Stros vs. Cubs!

    Don’t really see what’s so interesting about the Rangers vs. A’s. Doesn’t seem all that important…

  13. lightcleric - Oct 3, 2012 at 12:11 PM

    Am I the only one who thinks the second wild card actually made this less interesting? Instead of having a situation where one of Texas/Oakland/Baltimore teams will be gone, you could have actually have a mess of the O’s and Yankees having a 1-game playoff to see who waits and who plays in the next one-game playoff for the actual playoffs.

    • cur68 - Oct 3, 2012 at 12:12 PM

      I think you’re alone here. More baseball = good.

      • number42is1 - Oct 3, 2012 at 1:00 PM

        cur – i would agree with you 998 out of 1000 times ( the 1000th time is when you put a random “U” into words) this is the 999th time. i think that MLB screwed the pooch with this format.

      • wretchu - Oct 3, 2012 at 1:22 PM

        I gotta agree with cur. There is a little bit of a let-down knowing that all four teams in the AL will advance to at least the play-in game on Friday, but do you really think that all teams are not going to go all out to try to avoid it? They’re not going to be coasting by any means. Not to mention it still leads to a do-or-die game on Friday for the two teams in that spot.

        And if there is that 1-game playoff between Baltimore and New York, that would just make things more fun – not a mess. If it goes down to that, it just reinforces how important the ENTIRE regular season is. The Yankees should’ve had the division long-since wrapped up by now, but they started to fold down the stretch and Baltimore has nearly caught them. Whereas last year the Yankees could’ve held back and relied on having the single wild card locked up with only a slight disadvantage, they now have to play to win in game 162.

        And of course in the NL there really was no drama at all. The top four slots were realistically locked up at the start of September, and at most there’d be jockeying for position for the entire last month. But the second wild card added a race for that second spot, and of course it gets the pressure-packed Friday play-in game as well.

  14. Loose Changeup - Oct 3, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    So if the O’s win and the Yanks lose, they’ll travel from TB to Baltimore to play a game 163. If the O’s win that game, they’ll travel to OAK/TEX for a single wild card game, and if they win that, they have to travel somewhere else to start the ALDS…do I have this right?

    So the more the Orioles win, the more Angelos has to pay for airplane fuel.

    LET’S GO O’S

    • sportsdrenched - Oct 3, 2012 at 2:45 PM

      Yes, and the more airplanes fly the more they will need parts. Fly them bad boys. (although, I’m not sure who Balitmore uses to fly so I probably won’t benefit directly. In the past the Rockies & Cardinals charters have been accounts of mine)

  15. historiophiliac - Oct 3, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    Now I’m wondering if the Rangers will celebrate with Lone Star beer if they win. Did they ship that to CA in anticipation?

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