As if this season of baseball wasn't crazy and insane enough, the final day of the regular season saw a total of eight games which had playoff implications, and most of them were absolutely incredible!
First off, in the American League, the Yankees, Rangers, and Tigers had already locked up their divisions, but the Boston Red Sox were trying to avoid missing the playoffs after a miserable September which saw them lose 20 of their 28 games. At the same time, the Rays were trying to at least get to a playoff game by beating the Yankees, who have the best AL record this year. The Rangers and Tigers were each trying to gain home field advantage and the number two seed in the AL against the Angels and Indians, respectively.
In the National League, the Braves and Cardinals were tied for the Wild Card spot, and a win by one and a loss by the other would seal the deal for one of them. Milwaukee and Arizona were vying for the right to not face the Phillies with home field advantage.
Here's how the night went down. First, the matchups:
The games started out quickly enough. The Yankees took a seven-run advantage over the Rays, while the Rangers handily beat the Angels, rendering the Detroit game meaningless. When the Cardinals beat the Astros, it became a must-win situation for the Braves, and when Milwaukee beat Pittsburgh soon after that, the Diamondbacks knew they were going to open on the road.
But then the Rays tied the Yankees with a six-run eighth inning and a solo homer in the bottom of the ninth. Boston and the Orioles emerged from a rain delay with Boston on top by one in the 7th, and a 3-3 stalemate ensued in Atlanta. The Yankees-Rays game and the Phillies-Braves games both headed to extra innings, with the Wild Card hopefuls fighting with every tool in their arsenals for the chance to play postseason baseball. It was exciting.
Just a few minutes ago, the Baltimore Orioles tied their game in the bottom of the ninth inning against Boston on a Nolan Reimold ground rule double, and then won it on a walk-off Robert Andino RBI single. The Red Sox needed a Yankees win to force a playoff.
The Atlanta Braves gave up a run to the Phillies in the 13th inning of their game, and the Phillies shut them out in the bottom of the frame, ending their playoff dreams this year. This locked up the NLDS matchups.
And just moments ago, Evan Longoria hit a game-winning, playoff-making, walk-off home run in the bottom of the 12th inning against the New York Yankees to give them the AL Wild Card, locking up the ALDS matchups.
No one would have ever thought the Rays had a chance this year, but they came back from several games down to Boston to win it, and the Cardinals completed a similar wild run. This day of baseball has been simply amazing!
The playoff picture is set.
ALDS A: Detroit Tigers vs. New York Yankees
ALDS B: Tampa Bay Rays vs. Texas Rangers
NLDS A: St. Louis Cardinals vs. Philadelphia Phillies
NLDS B: Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Milwaukee Brewers
Thus, my playoff predictions this year will be as follows:
ALCS: Tampa Bay Rays vs. Detroit Tigers
NLCS: Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Philadelphia Phillies
World Series: Detroit Tigers vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
WS Winner: The Arizona Diamondbacks in 6 games
Yes, I'm biased. Deal with it! Haha... GO DBACKS!