This season has already been improbable. Because, let’s be honest, who actually had the Rangers and Astros battling it out for the top of the AL West? And when the Astros looked hotter than ever, who had the Rangers retaking the division lead? Only to be close to letting the Astros back in to win the division? And then, the Angels, who looked dormant all season, suddenly woke up and woke up quickly, to put themselves into contention for the Wild Card.
This morning, the Astros had a magic number of two to clinch a Wild-Card spot. The Rangers had a magic number of one to clinch the AL West. The Angels looked to play spoiler, but also to keep their playoff hopes alive. They, barring that Houston loses both of their remaining games to sub-par Arizona, have to win out.
And this afternoon, the Rangers were three outs away from winning the division. They had come back from a 5-2 deficit, and turned it into a cushioned 4-run lead, and their closer, who had finished 35 games this season, on the mound. But something out of the normal occurred; Erick Aybar and Kole Calhoun hit back to back home runs to make it 10-8. Then, the Angels strung together a few hits to tie the game, and Johnny Giavotella gave Los Angeles the lead. In the bottom of the ninth, down to their last out, the Rangers had the tying run, Elvis Andrus, on base. Rougned Odor was at the plate. Andrus went on the first pitch, and got into second easily. There was only one issue. He overslid the base, and Erick Aybar tagged him out.
Now, tomorrow’s games promise a dramatic ending to the season, especially considering they all start at 3:10 PM eastern time.
Here’s the situation.
A) Angels go 0-1
B) Angels go 1-0
C) Astros go 2-0
D) Astros go 1-1
E) Astros go 0-2
For HOU/TEX to go to a one-game playoff, then scenarios B & C.
For HOU/LAA to go to a one-game playoff, then scenarios D & B OR E & A have to occur.
For TEX to win the AL West and for HOU to get WC Spot #2, then scenarios A and D have to occur.
For TEX to win the AL West and for LAA to get WC Spot #2, scenarios E & B have to occur.
So in other words, not confusing at all. In all likelihood, Texas will win the division, as they can win tomorrow or Houston can lose either of their games for that to happen. But more questions arise. Who will pitch in the bullpen tomorrow after both Los Angeles and Texas blew leads and went through a total of 18 pitchers? If there is a one-game playoff, who starts that? Will any team be able to survive a one-game playoff loss just to play in the Wild Card game the next day? It’s a complicated and exciting situation – something only the last day of the season can bring.