Ladies and Gentlemen, we officially have your 10 playoff-bound MLB teams.
And what a ride it was, with all wild card races going pretty much to the wire.
In the league’s final weekend, the all four wild card races were settled, with some pretty surprising results. Otherwise, the division winners booked their tickets to the big dance well in advance of the final weekend, especially the Chicago Cubs, who clinched way back on Sept. 15. The Cubbies finished 103-58, 17.5 games ahead of St. Louis.
In the National League, the Washington Nationals won their third NL East title in five seasons, eclipsing second place New York by eight games, while over in the NL West, the Dodgers outlasted the Giants with a four-game cushion.
The American League was won overall by Texas, which posted a 95-67 record and will have home field all the way to the World Series. Cleveland’s final tally was 94-67 (8.0 games ahead of Detroit) and Boston took top seed in the AL East with a 93-69 mark (4.0 games ahead of Toronto and Baltimore).
With all that excitement over, and more to come, here are 10 things that decided MLB pennant and wild card races.
The Yankees could have pulled off the most miraculous run to the playoffs, except for that pivotal four-game set with host Toronto from Sept. 23 to Sept. 26. At that point, the Jays were reeling, having gone 7-12 in September (including being swept by the Yanks at Yankee Stadium) and finding themselves behind Boston. The Yankees, despite trading away key bullpen pieces and not having A-Rod and Carlos Beltran in the line-up, rolled into the Rogers Center with a glimmer of hope. Well, the Blue Jays, backs to the wall, thumped the Bombers 9-0 in the first game, getting six innings of three-hit ball from starter Francisco Liriano and pounding out 13 hits. In game two, CC Sabathia and Marcus Stroman staged a pitchers duel, only to have Jose Bautista blast a three-run dinger off Tyler Clippard to seal a 3-0 victory. The final nail in the Yankees’ playoff coffin was a 4-3 loss in the third game, courtesy of an Edwin Encarnacion walk off single.