MLB is in store for an exciting NL wildcard race final

Christopher Jones
Sports Editor

Photo Chris JonesAs the MLB playoffs get closer with every passing day that comes and goes, the wild card standings are becoming more like a rush hour freeway, or the horrid line at your local DMV. Only leading towards a deliciously, yet confusing absurd scenario for everyone involved. That scenario is that there is some chance we may see a lot of tie-breaking, do or die baseball games played within one 48 hour time span in early October that will not include the playoffs. Like there wasn’t already enough drama. Good news for non-divisional winners is that there are two wild card spots available. Why is that good news? Because all six divisions in both leagues are essentially locked with no key at all.

After a Wednesday night game on the 21 of September, where the Los Angeles Dodgers pushed their NL West lead over San Francisco back to six games with only four more against a weak Rockies team to go for the season.  Also on Wednesday, the Boson Red Sox have crushed Baltimore’s chances of winning the AL East with three straight wins against the Orioles, and seven straight wins overall. Orioles will now have to settle for a wild card. Meanwhile in the NL the wild card is actually a three way tie – The Giants, St. Louis Cardinals, and the New York Mets are all 80-72 as of September 22 thanks to a shared quality of mediocrity and a San Francisco bullpen that has forgotten how to play baseball.

Thank goodness they have though, because these next two weeks are definitely vital for all three teams and may also be a very entertaining finale to the regular season. Only two teams can make the playoffs as a wild card, but how will those teams be determined? One important fact to consider is that in a three way or greater tie breakers, the best common record upon the group between those teams trumps all. In this case it is the Cardinals, whose record between the Mets and Giants is 7-6, even though the Mets also have a 7-6 record in the group and are 3-3 against the Cardinals they still fall second due to the Cardinals having the Superior intra-division record. Leaving the Giants last in the picture with a 6-8 record in the group.

That would give the Cardinals the option of choosing to be “Team A” among the three teams. The Cardinals would then host a tiebreaking game on Monday October 2 against “Team B”. The looser travels to play “Team C”, the Giants, who have to win to get into the playoffs.  So, in all likelihood, a three-team NL shootout would look like this: Oct. 2: Cardinals vs. Mets with the team with best intra-division record hosts. Winner is in. Then, on Oct. 3: Cardinals-Mets loser at Giants. Winner advances and meets the winner between the Cardinals vs. Mets in the Wild Card game on October 4The AL wild card isn’t as hectic as the NL wild card as of the 22 of September with each team separated by at least one game with the Blue Jays a game up on the Orioles, and the Orioles a game up on Detroit and Houston. If the playoffs started today – and they don’t – it’d be Toronto-Baltimore in the wild card game.

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These are archived stories from Mesa Legend editions before Fall 2018. See article for corresponding author.

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