As we discussed this morning, there are a number of possibilities for the Cleveland Indians as the season reaches the last game of the year. The Indians are on a 9 game winning streak but their Wild Card opponents, the Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers, have also been on 2 week tears as well. Here are the possible outcomes from today, with the Indians game starting at 2PM, weather dependent.
If the Indians win today they are in the Wild Card game and will host that game. The Tribe controls its own destiny for the playoffs. A simple win, with 2nd half ace Ubaldo Jimenez taking the mound, and the Indians can watch how the Rays and Rangers games play out.
If the Indians Win:
Then the Rays and Rangers will be in a battle for the 2nd wild card. They are currently tied for that spot. If they both win or lose then they will play a tie breaker game to see who goes to Cleveland to face the Tribe. If one team wins and one loses then the winning team will face the Tribe in the Wild Card game.
If the Indians lose they they will still at least play 1 more game. If they lose and the Rays and Rangers win there will be 3 teams tied for 2 spots. In that situation the Indians will host a game on Monday. The winner of that game gets 1 Wild Card spot. The loser then plays the left over team and the winner of that game gets the other Wild Card spot. So if the Indians lose and the other teams win they could play 2 games before the one game Wild Card game.
If the Indians Lose:
The Indians lose and 1 of the Rays and Rangers lose then the Indians and the team that did not lose would make the Wild Card. The Indians would host against the Rangers but would travel to Tampa Bay if they tie for the Wild Card spots.
If the Indians lose and both the Rays and Rangers lose then the Rays and Rangers would play each other in a tie breaker game to determine who travels to Cleveland for the Wild Card game.
Best Case Scenario
The best case scenario for the Indians is to win their game and have the Rangers and Rays either both win or lose. This would allow the Indians to way out the winner of a tie break game where the opposing team would have to use one of their starters, probably their top one available, and their relievers. That team would then travel and play the Wild Card game the next day. That team would play 3 days in a row in win or go home potential, with huge emotional swings possible. All of that plays out in the Indians favor.