Monday, September 30th, 2013

Bonus Baseball 2013: AL Wild Card Tiebreaker

After 2,430 regular season games, the MLB playoff picture is not quite set. Two teams, the Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers, finished the regular season tied (91-71) for the second and final American League Wild Card slot. Tonight, the two teams will face each other in Texas for a single-elimination game to determine who will face the Cleveland Indians (92-70) in Wednesday night's AL Wild Card game.

The Tampa Bay Rays have advanced to the postseason three times. During their first trip to the postseason as AL East champions in 2008, the Rays defeated the Chicago White Sox (ALDS) and Boston Red Sox (ALDCS) to win the AL pennant. During the World Series they fell victim to the Philadelphia Phillies. The Rays returned to the postseason as division champions in 2010, but lost to the Texas Rangers during the ALCS. The following season, the Rays won the American League Wild Card and lost, once again, to the Texas Rangers during the ALCS.

The Texas Rangers have reached the postseason six times. In 1996, the Rangers won their franchise's first AL West division title, but were eliminated by the New York Yankees in the ALDS. Division titles followed in 1998 and 1999, but the Rangers suffered the same fate both seasons with a losses to the Yankees during the ALDS. In 2010, the Rangers won their first AL pennant by defeating the Rays (ALDS) and Yankees (ALCS), but lost to the San Francisco Giants during the World Series. The following season, the Rangers returned to the World Series by defeating the Rays (ALDS) and the Detroit Tigers (ALCS) en route to winning their second AL pennant. On two separate occasions during Game 6 of the 2011 World Series, the Rangers were one strike away from defeating the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals rallied with two runs in the bottom of the ninth to force extra innings, and two runs in the 10th and one in the 11th to force a seventh game. Despite jumping to an early 2-0 lead, the Rangers lost to the Cardinals 6-2. With a second wild card spot added to each league in 2012, the Rangers hosted the Baltimore Orioles in a single-elimination Wild Card Game, but lost 5-1.

All statistics compiled during tonight's game will count as regular season statistics. Tonight's game will be broadcast on TBS with the first pitch slated for 7:07 CT.

Will there be a Shot Heard Round the World, like the one Bucky Dent delivered years ago in Boston?
BeanCounter37   Monday, September 30, 2013
I'm not sure. I just hope the game isn't a lopsided affair. That would make a 163rd game seem useless.
Bill Pearch   Monday, September 30, 2013
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