Playoff field set on season’s final day
Baltimore will play at Toronto on Tuesday and San Francisco will head to Citi Field on Wednesday to face the Mets in the two one-game wild card matchups.
So much for any Game No. 162 chaos in baseball: The San Francisco Giants, Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles grabbed the last three playoff spots Sunday, and the October matchups are set.
Neat and clean, no need for all sorts of tiebreakers. Too bad — that kind of final-day scramble might’ve been fun for fans.
Instead, they could sit back, savor Vin Scully’s farewell call and prepare for the postseason. It opens Tuesday night when the Orioles visit Toronto in the AL wild-card game.
“All we asked for is an opportunity, and right now, we have an opportunity,” Baltimore center fielder Adam Jones said after a 5-2 win over the New York Yankees. “So, let’s celebrate and enjoy this and get back to work.”
No official word yet on the starting pitchers at Rogers Centre. Figures to be Chris Tillman for the O’s against Marcus Stroman.
On Wednesday night, aces duel as Madison Bumgarner starts for the Giants vs. Noah Syndergaard and the New York Mets at Citi Field in the NL wild-card game.
“We found a way to get back to where we need to be,” Bumgarner said after his team’s 7-1 win finished off a sweep of the Dodgers. “If we play like we have been the last three days, we’ll be tough to beat.”
On Thursday, the best-offive AL Division Series begins: David Ortiz and Boston at Cleveland, and the wild-card winner at Texas.
“I guess I wish Ortiz would consider retiring early,” said Indians manager Terry Francona, who previously guided Big Papi with the Red Sox, “but I don’t see that happening.”
On Friday night, Clayton Kershaw starts Game 1 for the Los Angeles Dodgers at Washington, and the NL wild-card winner plays the best-in-the-majors Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.
Going into Game 162, Detroit and St. Louis also had a chance to reach the postseason. That raised the possibility of multi-team, multi-city tiebreakers going into early next week.
The Tigers were in the middle of that mix. They hoped to win at Atlanta and have either the Orioles or Blue Jays lose — then, they would’ve needed to win a makeup game at home Monday against Detroit to force a tiebreaker for an AL wild-card spot.
“I would not have enjoyed the travel,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said, “but I would have relished traveling.”
That kind of drama never developed as the teams holding leads took care of business.
Orioles pitcher Tommy Hunter is doused in the visitors’ clubhouse after the Orioles beat the Yankees, 5-2, to earn a spot in the playoffs, Sunday in New York.