Royals own Wild Card, looking to trade for division title

First-round matchup unknown heading into season's final two games

Royals own Wild Card, looking to trade for division title

The Royals will be making their first postseason appearance since 1985. That much was decided Friday night when Kansas City beat Chicago, 3-1.

However, their first-round opponent, when they play said opponent, and at what stage, still remains very much undecided. A phalanx of scenarios remains that dictate who Kansas City will meet after the final two regular-season games play themselves out.

The most likely scenario calls for a Wild Card game with the Athletics. The Royals (88-72) and the Athletics (87-73) currently possess the two Wild Cards, with Kansas City leading Oakland by one game for home-field advantage. As long as the Royals finish with at least a tie with the A's, they would host the matchup.

To play in their cozy confines of O.co Stadium, the Athletics must win their final two games, and the Royals must lose their last two against the White Sox.

Detroit left the door open Friday in the AL Central, as the Royals moved to within one game of the Tigers, who fell to Minnesota, 11-4. Kansas City still could usurp Detroit and win the AL Central outright, but that would require a 2-0 finish to the season, plus a 0-2 finish for the Tigers. If the Royals top the division, they would face the Orioles in an AL Division Series.

Additionally, if Kansas City wins the final two games, and Detroit only takes one, or KC finishes 1-1, while the Tigers drop both, a 163rd game would be played at Comerica Park to determine the AL Central, with the loser moving on to host Oakland in the Wild Card Game.

"We've still got work to do," Royals manager Ned Yost said after his team's postseason-clinching win. "Detroit lost, we're a game back with two to go and you don't know what can happen. We'll go play any game they have for us to play."

The only other team the Royals could face as their first postseason opponent is Seattle, although it calls for a fair amount of jostling for the Mariners to reach them.

The Mariners, who defeated the Angels, 4-3, on Friday night, can still tie the Athletics for the second Wild Card with two wins to finish the season, and two A's losses. The winner of a Seattle-Oakland tiebreaker game would travel to Kauffman Stadium for the Wild Card Game.

"We've got a long road ahead of us and everybody here knows that this isn't it," said pitcher Aaron Crow. "We've still got a chance to catch Detroit, so we've got to worry about that first. We'd definitely rather have a five-game series than one. It'd be great if we could catch 'em, but if not, we'd be ready for Oakland or Seattle."

Jackson Alexander is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.