The Phillies will open one National League Division Series at home on Wednesday, and unless one of the West teams overtakes Atlanta for the Wild Card, that will be against the Reds. The other NLDS will start on Thursday, teams TBA.
The Twins will open one American League Division Series at home on Wednesday, against either the Rays or Yankees -- whichever club is declared Wild Card. The AL East champion will host Game 1 against Texas in the other ALDS that day.
NL West and Wild Card
The Padres just beat the Giants again, cutting San Francisco's NL West lead to one game. The Giants are 91-70, the Padres 90-71. Their regularly scheduled finale is Sunday at AT&T Park, and if the Giants win, they clinch the West. The Padres are 12-5 against the Giants this season, and head-to-head is first tiebreaker, replacing coin flips.
The Braves were unable once again to clinch the Wild Card, losing a fifth straight time to the Phillies. Now Atlanta is 90-71, so the Padres have matched the Braves in the Wild Card standings. If the Padres win and the Braves lose, then Atlanta is eliminated on Bobby Cox's final day as manager, and San Diego is declared West champion by virtue of head-to-head. The Padres would host Cincinnati in Game 1 of one NLDS on Thursday, and San Francisco would open Wednesday at Citizens Bank Park against the Phillies.
If the Braves win Sunday and the Padres lose, then the Giants are NL West champs and the Braves are the Wild Card. Atlanta would play at San Francisco in Game 1 of an NLDS on Thursday, and Cincinnati would open at Philadelphia. Either way, the Reds, who lost the season series to the Padres and Giants, are locked in as a road team for the NLDS.
NL two-way tie scenario
If the Padres and Braves both lose on Sunday, then the Giants are NL West champs and the Padres and Braves will meet in a tiebreaker game on Monday at Turner Field. Atlanta won the season series from both West contenders and owns the first tiebreaker advantage to determine home field. That would be the fourth consecutive year that 162 games were not enough in MLB, and it would count in official regular-season statistics.
NL three-way tie scenario
If the Padres and Braves both win, then all three teams have identical 91-71 records. Step one is determining the division champion. San Francisco would play at San Diego on Monday to decide that one. The loser then plays at Turner Field on Tuesday to decide the Wild Card.
|If two teams are tied atop the division and both are assured of making the postseason, head-to-head record would be used to determine which team is the division champ and which falls to the Wild Card.|
|If two teams are tied atop the division and share the Wild Card lead with another club, the ties will be broken in the following fashion:|
The teams tied atop the division will play, with the winner taking the division.
The losing team will then play the remaining Wild Card contender, with the winner making the playoffs.
|If three clubs are tied atop a division or Wild Card standings, each club would be designated in one of three slots, "A," "B," or "C." Clubs get to choose their designation based on head-to-head records. Tiebreaking games would then proceed like this:|
Club A hosts Club B on Monday, Oct. 4
The winner of the first game hosts Club C on Oct. 5, with the winner declared champion.
If the teams finish tied after Sunday's games, then the Rays would be division champions by virtue of their 10-8 head-to-head record this season. In that case, the Rangers would open at Tropicana Field on Wednesday, and the Yankees at Target Field. Minnesota and the AL East champion are both guaranteed ALDS home-field advantage.
The Yankees now need a win Sunday and a Rays loss in order to win the division. If that happens, New York would host the Rangers on Wednesday, with the Rays opening at Minnesota.
Postseason starting times: All four Division Series and the AL Championship Series (starting Oct. 15) will be televised by TBS. The NL Championship Series (starting Oct. 16) and World Series (starting Oct. 27) will be televised by FOX. MLB has announced World Series start times, but times are TBA for earlier rounds.
Sunday's key games to watch
Yankees (Moseley, 4-3) at Red Sox (Lackey, 13-11), 1:35 p.m. ET Preview>
Phillies (Hamels, 12-11) at Braves (16-9), 1:35 p.m. Preview>
Rays (Davis, 12-10) at Royals (O'Sullivan, 4-6), 2:10 p.m. Preview>
Padres (Latos, 14-9) at Giants (Sanchez, 12-9), 4:05 p.m. Preview>
Leaders and contenders
Rays: W, 4-0 @KC
Tied, clinched postseason berth | Next: @ KC
Yankees: W, 6-4 @BOS and L, 7-6 @ BOS
Tied, clinched postseason berth | Next: @ BOS
Twins: W, 5-4 vs. TOR
CLINCHED | Next: vs. TOR
Rangers: W, 6-2 vs. LAA
CLINCHED | Next: vs. LAA AL Wild Card
Rays and Yankees tied
NATIONAL LEAGUENL East
Phillies: W, 7-0
CLINCHED | Next: @ ATL NL Central
Reds: W, 9-1 vs. HOU
CLINCHED | Next: vs. MIL NL West
Giants: L, 4-2 vs. SD
Lead: 1 over SD | Next: vs. SD NL Wild Card
Braves: L, 7-0 vs. PHI
Lead: Tied with SD | Next: vs. PHI
Padres: W, 4-2 @ SF
Lead: Tied with ATL | Next: @ SF