Of course, that’s actually considered breathing room for the Yankees. As predicted, the Rays proved to be a much more formidable foe than the Red Sox. The Orioles lost to Tampa Bay 5-3, while the New York had a 10-2 laugher over Boston. It’s just a shame that the schedule is probably going to hand the Yankees yet another division crown, but, given their recent past, I don’t think fans in Baltimore will mind the wild card too much. The bigger question is who will they be playing.
Also as predicted here,* the A’s managed to beat the Rangers yet again last night. That puts them just a single game behind Texas with two to play. And, just to re-emphasize, those two games are head-to-head. You absolutely have to love how this has played out, even if you’re a worried Rangers fan. Of course, Rangers fans I’m sure didn’t in a million years think they would be sweating out the division crown in the final days against the A’s. Of course, neither did fans in Oakland, but I’m sure they take it a much different direction. In any case, no matter how you feel about your team’s chances, you have to love how the schedule played out. No scoreboard watching, no moaning that somebody got a cakewalk to the playoffs while the other team was bogged down in the trenches. No games.** Just two teams, three games. You take two out of three, and you take the division crown.
*Yes, I know it said it was pretty important that the A’s go into their series with Seattle tied with Texas, and that didn’t happen. But I made sure to note there that it wasn’t a necessity. Because the A’s got to finish up the Rangers, all they needed to do was be within striking distance, which they did accomplish.
**Well, you know, beyond the game they’re actually playing. You get the expression, right?
Of course, if the A’s win two out of three, that would leave the division as a tie. I don’t know if, at that point, there would be a game 163, or if they would look at the head-to-head record and declare one the division champion and one the wild card. If it came down to a spot in the playoffs at all, I’m sure there would be another game. For positioning in the playoffs, I’m not nearly as sure. The Rangers would have reason to be worried, though, currently sitting at 8-9 against the A’s. It would be lovely if MLB would announce how a tie would be handled, and it’s possible they already have. But a quick glance around MLB’s website has proven fruitless. I also haven’t heard how this would be handled on TV. But, if the A’s win tonight, or the Orioles get that game back tonight, I’m sure we will hear all about it on ESPN.
Related to ESPN, who I haven’t harped on in some time, I see they have already decided to focus on the Orioles-Yankees race. That seems a bit premature, but entirely predictable, given ESPN’s headquarters in Connecticut. Of course they would care much, much more about the East Coast race. Add into that the Yankees’ involvement, and it just seems obvious that’s what they would choose. They’re putting the Yankees-Red Sox on ESPN on Wednesday night, and Orioles-Rays on ESPN2. Which is all fine and dandy if the Orioles win tonight and the Yankees lose, but what if that race is already decided, but we have a tie out west? Something tells me ESPN would say they had to make a commitment and they went with the race that was tied at the time and blah blah blah. It would be a hard sell to me, but then, I’ve been pushing the A’s for a little while. Surely MLBTV would fill that void and let us see the real clincher, right? Right?
I wish I were a lot more confident in that statement than I actually am, given MLB’s badly outdated and backwards media policies. One can only hope, right?