I'm told MLB took a cue from the English Premier League last year when it opted to play every game on the final day of the season at the same time, regardless of time zone. It's being done again today, with first pitches all between 3:05 and 3:15 Eastern time, and there could be plenty of simultaneous drama.
Here's a look at the scenarios to watch today and at how the tiebreakers and potential playoff matchups shake out:
AL Wild Card race
TOR 88-73 --
BAL 88-73 --
DET 86-74 1 1/2
What to watch: The Blue Jays are in Boston, with Aaron Sanchez starting against David Price as David Ortiz is honored for his final regular season game, while the Orioles are in Yankee Stadium on the final day of Mark Teixeira's MLB career. A Toronto win makes the Jays the host team for the AL Wild Card Game, likely Tuesday night in Rogers Centre but possibly Wednesday if tiebreakers are needed. A Blue Jays loss and Orioles win will make Camden Yards the site of the game.
(Read my Inside Baseball column today on the historic final flourish to Ortiz's career).
Detroit is in Atlanta for the Braves' final game in Turner Field, and the Tigers must win to stay alive and have either the Blue Jays or Orioles lose so that they can play their makeup game at home Monday against Cleveland. Detroit is eliminated with a loss in Atlanta or if both Toronto and Baltimore win.
NL Wild Card race
NYM 87-74 ---
SF 86-75 ---
STL 85-76 1
What to watch: The Mets clinched their second straight postseason berth with Saturday's win in Philadelphia and will host the NL Wild Card Game for the first time Wednesday in Citi Field. We could be looking at an epic pitching matchup of Noah Syndergaard vs. Madison Bumgarner if the Giants beat the Dodgers today in Vin Scully's last day at the mic, or if the Cardinals lose to Pittsburgh. If the Giants and Cardinals end tied, they will stage a tiebreaker Monday night in St. Louis for the right to head to New York.
CLE 93-67 ---
BOS 93-68 1/2
What to watch: The Indians need a win today in Kansas City and a Boston loss to clinch the homefield advantage for their division series against the Red Sox, which starts Thursday. A Boston win and a Cleveland loss gives the edge to the Red Sox, because they hold the tiebreaker by virtue of winning the season series. If the Indians maintain their half-game lead after today, they will have to win a makeup Monday in Detroit to get the right to host Game One.
What's been settled
1). Texas has clinched homefield through the World Series and will host the AL wild-card team in the division series starting Thursday. That could mean a second straight grudge match with the Blue Jays -- and the teams have not met since their epic May 15 brawl in Arlington.
2). The Cubs have clinched homefield through the NLCS and will host the NL wild-card team in the division series starting Thursday. It could mean a rematch with the Mets, the team that swept them out of the NLCS last season.
3). The Dodgers will meet the Nationals in an NLDS, opening Friday in Washington.