In a manifestation of how interconnected baseball can be, by winning the nightcap of their doubleheader yesterday the Rangers assured not only themselves but also the Yankees and Orioles spots in the post-season playoffs. It’s still to be determined who plays whom and where and when.
ESPN’s “If the season ended today” feature shows it would be the As and Yankees in the AL Wild Card #2 game; the winner moves on to play the Rangers. The Tigers and Orioles would play in the other series. The opponents could change depending on the results of the next three days.
Tampa Bay has a faint hope, but if it loses once or the As win once, the Florida team is done. It could still have an impact, though, as it starts a three-game home series with the Os today. Today’s game between the two is free on MLB.tv at 4:10PM PDT.
The Yankees, meanwhile, start a three-game series with the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. I’m sure the schedulers thought “Ooh, man, this will be a meaningful series which will determine the winner of the AL East.” It still may, but the Red Sox won’t be in the mix. Little did the schedulers know how completely the Bosox would collapse this year. They lost their 90th game of the year yesterday, which ensures their worst record since 1966.
Update: I thought I had the situation covered, but David Schoenfield goes into further possibilities at ESPN’s Sweet Spot blog.