Baseball season started during the first week of April. It is October now and 161 games later, we still have no idea how the playoffs are going to look.
When Bud Selig announced that there would be two wild card teams, he could not have envisioned a better outcome than what we have today. Two divisions are up for grabs today and in the AL West, the two teams are playing each other. The National League wild card was just decided last night and the NL East was just decided two days ago.
On Friday the two wild card games will take place. We know that the Cardinals will play the Braves in what could be Chipper Jones’ last game but we have no clue who will play in the AL wild card game. Let’s go over the scenarios.
If Oakland wins today against Texas, Texas will host a wild card game Friday against either the Orioles or the Yankees.
If Texas beats Oakland, Oakland will likely travel to the East to play either the Orioles or the Yankees. If the Orioles win tonight, the Yankees win, and Oakland loses, the A’s will play the Orioles at Camden Yards Friday.
If the Yankees lose and the Orioles win, they will play a one-game playoff at Camden Yards to determine the AL East winner. The loser of that game will play either the A’s or the Rangers in the wild card game.
Essentially, there will be a series of one-game playoffs. Today’s game between the Rangers and A’s is a one-game playoff and the loser will go on to play another one-game playoff. If the Yankees lose and the Orioles win, they will play a one-game playoff and the loser of that game will play another one-game playoff.
As a fan of the Orioles, a one-game playoff scares me and I am sure it would scare any fan of any team. For people who love football because there are fewer games therefore every game matters, a one-game playoff is ideal. Every pitch matters and it makes for amazing television. For baseball traditionalist the one-game playoff is terrible. They say your whole season ends up coming down to just one game and that is a bad thing. I understand both arguments.
Now, just a disclaimer, what I think will happen is probably way different than what will actually happen. I think Oakland wins today’s game against Texas which will put the cap on a dream season for A’s fans. A.J. Griffin is just plain better than Ryan Dempster right now. I predict both the Yankees and the Orioles win today which would make the Yankees the Al East Champions. This would cause a one-game playoff between the Orioles and the Rangers. The probable starters for that game would be Yu Darvish and Joe Saunders.
Whether you are for or against the second wild card team, nobody can deny that this has been one of the most exciting seasons in recent memory. I was skeptical about adding a wild card team but now I am grateful because it has helped keep baseball relevant during football season. Usually when football season starts baseball kind of dies out. This season, baseball will be on everybody’s TV Friday and I expect those wild card games to have outrageous ratings.