The Red Sox might be going to the playoffs, against an uncertain opponent. Or they might be going home. Or they might be heading to Florida, then the playoffs … or home.
Yes, everything is up in the air going into tonight’s season finale. The Sox and Rays are tied atop the AL wild-card table, making a play-in game a real possibility.
Here’s tonight’s scenarios:
Red Sox beat Baltimore, Rays lose to New York: Boston wins the wild card and makes the playoffs.
Rays win, Red Sox lose: Tampa Bay wins the wild card and makes the playoffs. The Red Sox are eliminated.
Both teams win: Tampa Bay hosts a play-in game tomorrow (4:07 p.m., TBS).
Both teams lose: Tampa Bay hosts a play-in game tomorrow (4:07 p.m., TBS).
A similar situation is playing out in the National League, where the Cardinals and Braves are tied for the wild card.
Meanwhile, the Rangers lead the Tigers by one game in the race for the No. 2 seed in the AL. If Texas beats Anaheim tonight, they’ll host either Tampa Bay or Boston in the first round, with Detroit heading to New York.
If Texas and Detroit end up tied, a statistical tiebreaker will decide who gets the No. 2 seed. Teams only meet in one-game playoffs (like the Red Sox and Rays are potentially looking at) if a playoff spot is on the line. Likewise, a team cannot be eliminated from the postseason based on a statistical tiebreaker.