Since the addition of the Wild Card game in 2012, Major League Baseball has often reached its final week of the regular season without knowing exactly what its postseason lineup would look like.
Perfect for the marketing folks. The more confusing the scenario, the more exciting it usually is for the fans, which was the point all along.
Well, such is the case as we move into the late stages of the final week of the 2018 regular season, which concludes in unison with a series of 3:15 p.m. ET games on Sunday.
This we know as we approached the start of Wednesday’s games, courtesy of MLB, which has the best abacus when it comes to this stuff. What follows may seem a might confusing, because it is. Just read slowly to aid retention.
The Boston Red Sox. Cleveland Indians, Houston Astros and Atlanta Braves have won divisional titles. And the New York Yankees will host the Oakland A’s in the AL Wild Card game on Wednesday, Oct. 3.
The Red Sox have locked homefield for the duration of the playoffs and will play the Wild Card winner in the ALDS. The Astros are the second seed, the Indians the third.
The National League is still a mess.
The Chicago Cubs (91-66), Milwaukee Brewers (91-67) and St. Louis Cardinals (87-71) are still in contention for the NL Central title. The Cubs are currently first. The Brewers trail by one-half game and the Cardinals by 4 ½ games. Meanwhile, the Cubs lead the Braves (89-68) by two games for the No. 1 seed in the NL.
If needed to break an NL Central tie, the Brewers would play at Wrigley Field by virtue of the Cubs winning the season series. With their win on Tuesday, the Brewers clinched the season series over the Cardinals and would host the Wild Card on Tuesday if the clubs tie for both spots.
In the event of a tie for the best record in the NL, the higher seed is determined by intra-division record and since the Cubs and Braves spilt their season series, Atlanta (48-23) would jump over Chicago (37-34).
The Los Angeles Dodgers (88-70) lead the Colorado Rockies (87-70) by one-half game in the NL West. If they tie for the divisional title, the Dodgers would host the playoff game because they won the season series.
The Brewers lead the Rockies by 3 1/2 games for first NL Wild Card. The Cardinals trail the Rockies by a half-game for second NL Wild Card spot. If there is a tie for the second Wild Card, the Rockies play at St. Louis as a result of losing the season series to the Cardinals.
The Dodgers lost the season series to the Cardinals, so if they are tied for a Wild Card spot, Los Angeles would play at St. Louis.
We hope that explains it for now. It will all change again after Wednesday’s games.