No matter the results, really, this is going to be a crazy day in the baseball world. Let’s lay out the possible scenarios before everything gets going.
The Padres, 90-71, are one game back of the Giants in the NL West and tied with the Braves in the NL Wild Card.
The Giants, 91-70, lead the NL West by one game.
The Braves, 90-71, share the NL Wild Card currently with the Padres.
- If the Giants beat the Padres on Sunday, the Giants take the NL West. Then if the Braves beat the Phillies, the Braves take the NL Wild Card.
- If the Giants beat the Padres but the Braves lose to the Phillies, there would be a one-game playoff in Atlanta between the Padres and Braves for the NL Wild Card.
- If the Padres beat the Giants and the Braves lose, the Padres would win the NL West because they won the season series against the Giants. And the Giants, then, would win the Wild Card.
- If the Padres and Braves both win, all teams would finish with a 91-71 record, marking the first-ever three-team tiebreaker in MLB history. The Giants and Padres would play a one-game playoff in San Diego on Monday to decide the division. The loser would then head to Atlanta for a one-game playoff on Tuesday that would decide the Wild Card.
For what it’s worth, we’re rooting for that last one.
Here are the Rangers and Blue Jays lineups for Game 1 of the ALDS in Toronto:
CF Delino DeShields
RF Shin-Soo Choo
3B Adrian Beltre
DH Prince Fielder
1B Mike Napoli
LF Josh Hamilton
SS Elvis Andrus
2B Rougned Odor
C Robinson Chirinos
SP Yovani Gallardo
With left-hander David Price on the mound for Toronto the Rangers are going with Mike Napoli at first base over Mitch Moreland. Beyond that it’s a pretty standard lineup for Texas, or at least standard for what manager Jeff Banister used down the stretch once Josh Hamilton was healthy enough to play left field.
LF Ben Revere
3B Josh Donaldson
RF Jose Bautista
DH Edwin Encarnacion
SS Troy Tulowitzki
1B Justin Smoak
C Russell Martin
2B Ryan Goins
CF Kevin Pillar
SP David Price
After returning from the disabled list for the final weekend of the regular season Troy Tulowitzki is in the lineup and batting fifth. That allows Ryan Goins to play second base in place of the injured Devon Travis. Justin Smoak gets the nod over Chris Colabello at first base against a right-hander.
Houston made one unexpected change to the roster for the ALDS, leaving off veteran reliever Chad Qualls.
Qualls warmed up but never appeared in the Wild Card game win over the Yankees and during the regular season the 36-year-old right-hander logged 49 innings with a 4.38 ERA and 46/9 K/BB ratio. Qualls was on the Astros’ last playoff team in 2005.
Utility man Jonathan Villar has been bumped off the roster in favor of outfielder Preston Tucker, as the Astros opted for a good left-handed bat off the bench versus the Royals rather than Villar’s speed.