Extra wild card teams! One game playoffs! Optimized TV schedules! These are all so, so awesome! Except for if it, you know, rains or something. Jayson Stark breaks down the potential chaos:
So let’s just say the Cardinals and Dodgers do indeed finish tied for that second wild-card spot. And let’s just say the Cardinals beat the Dodgers in the tiebreaker game to nail down that spot.
Under the current schedule, the Cardinals would theoretically have to play Wednesday night in St. Louis, Thursday night in Los Angeles and Friday sometime-or-other in Atlanta. Well, guess what? That ain’t happening.
It’s not, Stark explains, because the union and the league agreed back in March to not let that happen. So Stark goes over the alternatives. And they all stink.
You reap what you sow, MLB. You wanted to cram in the expanded playoffs without having a regular season schedule that can reasonably accommodate them and that’s what you get.
The Red Sox have clinched the AL East for a third consecutive season, beating the Yankees 11-6 in the Bronx on Thursday night. It’s the third consecutive season in which the Red Sox have won the division, the first time that’s ever been done in club history. In fact, the only other times the Red Sox won the division in back-to-back years were 1903-04 and 1915-16.
AL MVP candidate Mookie Betts went 4-for-5 with a two-run single in the second inning off of Masahiro Tanaka and a three-run homer in the eighth against Aroldis Chapman to put the game out of reach. Jackie Bradley and Brock Holt also hit homers. Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez was on the hook for five runs in 3 2/3 innings, but three of them scored when Heath Hembree inherited a bases-loaded situation, then served up a grand slam to Giancarlo Stanton in the fourth. The rest of the bullpen combined to fire five scoreless innings. Steven Wright had three of them followed by zeroes from Ryan Brasier and Craig Kimbrel.
With the loss, the Yankees’ lead over the Athletics for the first Wild Card slot shrinks to 1.5 games. Meanwhile, the Red Sox will try to clinch home field advantage throughout the playoffs. With a 104-49 record, their closest competitor is the 95-57 Astros. With nine games remaining in the regular season for the Red Sox, they would have to lose every game remaining in the regular season and the Astros would have to win their 10 remaining games in order to fail to claim home field advantage.