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Big League Stew

The one thing you need to know about baseball’s postseason picture – and it’s a wild one

Mike Oz
Big League Stew

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Note: All week we've been counting down to the end of the MLB regular season, with a list of important talking points about the postseason picture. Now we're here, the final day of the season. And the postseason still isn't completely sorted out.

1. It's all about the AL wild card, and it's wild: Admit it, you had a feeling these last few weeks that the AL wild card chase would come to the very last sliver of the season. Here we are, Game 162 with three teams still in contention for two wild card spots. The Texas Rangers, Tampa Bay Rays and Cleveland Indians will all see their postseason fates decided in Sunday's games. We could have a three-way tie, a tie for the second wild-card or one team could left on the outside looking in. Are you ready for a wild day?

(Ok, there IS one more thing to watch Sunday, but it's not as crazy as the wild card — the St. Louis Cardinals can secure NL home-field advantage with a win. If the Cards lose and Braves win, the Braves would get home-field because they own the tiebreaker.)

But back to the AL wild card. Here's a team-by-team look at what's on the line Sunday:

Cleveland Indians
• With their win Saturday, the Indians guaranteed themselves a game after Sunday. Just what the game is and where it's played, however, is yet to be determined.
• If the Indians win, they clinch home-field in Wednesday's AL wild card game.
• If the Indians lose, we have the potential for a three-way tie. The Rangers and Rays would both have to win for that to happen.

Tampa Bay Rays
• The Rays are tied with the Rangers, so they need a win and a Rangers loss to clinch the second wild card spot outright.
• If the Rays win and both the Rangers and Indians lose, Tampa Bay would advance to the wild card game against the Indians. The Rays would host the game because they beat the Indians head-to-head this season.

Texas Rangers
• The Rangers need a win and a Rays loss to clinch the second wild card spot outright.
• If the Rangers win and both the Rays and Indians lose, Texas would advance to the wild card game against the Indians. The Indians would host the game because they beat the Rangers head-to-head this season.

Other things you need to know
• If all three teams win (or lose), then the Indians get the top wild card spot because they finish with the best record. If just the Rays and Rangers end the regular season with the same record, they would meet in a tiebreaker game at 8:07 p.m. ET on Monday in Texas, because the Rangers won the season series 4-3.

• If there is a three-way tie, this is how it would be decided:

SUNDAY'S GAMES: Got it? Now here's a rundown of the three games today that will determine what happens next:

• Rays (Moore, 16-4, 3.23 ERA) at Blue Jays (Redmond, 4-2, 3.77 ERA), 1:07 p.m. ET

• Indians (Jimenez, 12-9, 3.38 ERA) at Twins (Diamond, 6-12, 5.54 ERA), 2:10 p.m. ET

• Angels (Vargas, 9-7, 4.01 ERA) at Rangers (Darvish, 13-9, 2.82 ERA), 3:05 p.m. ET

THE ENTIRE PLAYOFF PICTURE: Here's how the postseason bracket looks, heading into Sunday's action.

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Pennant races are here. Spend the stretch run with us.
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