What a time to be a fan of Major League Baseball. This is what October baseball is all about, absolute chaos. The playoff implications of just about every team in the postseason picture came down to the final game of the regular season, game #162. Sunday was the true test of who really wants it. As of Sunday morning, the only game written in stone was the National League Division Series, the Los Angeles Dodgers hosting the New York Mets. Out of the 16 games played on Sunday, seven of those have an impact of the postseason bracket. The AL West champion was still to be determined, one AL Wild Card spot had yet to be finalized and a number of home-field advantage scenarios still had to be determined.
After the drama of Sunday rounded out, here is how the final AL playoff picture will look:
The Toronto Blue Jays, earning the second best record in the American League will host the American League Division Series against the Texas Rangers. The series begins Thursday at Roger Centre. The Blue Jays come into this series with confidence from previous success against the Rangers in the regular season. “It’s still somewhat of a good feeling knowing that we played pretty well against Texas this year, and most of us do pretty well in that ballpark,” Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista says in reference to Globe Life Park in Arlington. Toronto took control of Texas during the season winning each of its series. David Price is scheduled to start Game 1 for the Jays, the Rangers have not said who their starter will be yet.
The Rangers are not worried about the fact the Blue Jays lead in the series during the regular season. Rangers Jeff Bannister has full confidence in his club, “Hey, if that is what it is and that’s who we play, I still believe in these guys.” After going through a rough season, the Rangers have a great amount of momentum on their side. “We went through a lot of adversity just to come out to where we are on the last game of the season. It’s unbelievable,” says first baseman Mitch Moreland. We’ll see if the Rangers can ride this momentum to win the ALDS.
The Houston Astros will be taking a road trip up to the Bronx to play the Yankees in the AL Wild Card game. Possible Cy Young winner, Dallas Keuchel, will get the start in New York on Tuesday. The Yankees on the other hand will be putting their ace, Tanaka on the mound. The winner of this game will go on to play the defending AL champs, Kansas City Royals in the AL Division Series. The matchup between the Astros and Yankees looks to live up to the hype of a great game. Be sure to catch it 8 p.m. eastern on ESPN.
With all the action that came in the last day of the regular season, it can only get better as we get deeper into October, where champions are made.