It all comes down to Game 162.
Entering today, we know who the five teams will be in the National League side of the playoffs. With the Dodgers winning yesterday, the five-team field will look like this:
Those are the five teams on the National League side of the playoffs. While those five teams are set, not one of them is locked into a playoff seed yet. The only thing we can say for sure right now is that the Braves will be playing in the NLDS, but whether they will have home-field advantage or not for that series is still TBD.
All five teams are playing today, and as a change made starting last season, all will be starting at around the same time (2 pm). Here are the five games:
- Milwaukee Brewers vs. Detroit Tigers
- Atlanta Braves @ Philadelphia Phillies
- Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals
- Los Angeles Dodgers @ San Francisco Giants
- Colorado Rockies @ Washington Nationals
Here is what is on the line for today. First, here is what could happen in the NL Central. This is pretty clean on what could happen.
- If both the Brewers and Cubs either win or lose, the two teams would play a one-game tiebreaker at Wrigley Field on Monday.
- If either team wins and the other loses, the winning team will be the NL Central champion and secure home field advantage through the NLCS. The losing team would be the top Wild Card and host the Wild Card game on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, for the NL West, it’s also clear on what needs to happen to decide the champion, but the seeding is a bit more complicated.
- If both the Dodgers and Rockies either win or lose, the two teams would play a one-game tiebreaker at Dodger Stadium on Monday.
- If either team wins and the other loses, the winning team will be the NL West champion and face the Braves in the NLDS. The losing team would be the second Wild Card and travel to the top Wild Card on Tuesday.
There’s also still the final seeding for the Braves and the NL West champion to figure out, as all three teams here are tied at 90-71. Here is how that could play out:
- If the Braves win and both the Dodgers and Rockies lose, the Braves will finish as the #2 seed and would have home field advantage in the NLDS between them and the NL West Champion.
- If the Dodgers or Rockies win, or the Braves lose, the Braves will finish as the #3 seed and the NL West Champion will have home field advantage in the NLDS between the two teams. In this scenario, the Braves would lose tiebreakers to both teams as they went 2-5 against each of them.
In the event that tie-breaker games are needed, MLB has already announced the schedule for them, based on which games are necessary. Here is the potential schedule:
- Brewers @ Cubs | 1:05 pm (if two tiebreaker games) OR 4:09 pm (if only tiebreaker game)
- Rockies @ Dodgers | 4:09 pm (if needed)
Meanwhile, for a look in on the AL side, everything has already been decided. Here’s how those playoffs will look:
- AL Wild Card Game: Athletics (#5 seed) @ Yankees (#4 seed) (October 3)
- ALDS #1: Red Sox (#1 seed) vs. Wild Card Winner (Series Starts October 5)
- ALDS #2: Astros (#2 seed) vs. Indians (#3 seed) (Series Starts October 5)
There’s also one more race to watch today. With Christian Yelich’s two home runs and three RBI in Saturday’s game, he is not only the front-runner for the MVP, but he also has a shot to finish the season as a Triple Crown winner in the National League. Here is how that looks entering Sunday’s games:
- Batting Average: Christian Yelich is at .324, while Anthony Rendon is second at .311. It’s near impossible for Yelich to fall into second place here.
- Home Runs: Christian Yelich and Matt Carpenter are tied at 36 HR entering Sunday’s game. Trevor Story is at 35 HR, and six other players (including Jesus Aguilar) are tied at 34 HR. Yelich would either need to stay tied/ahead of them or hit enough home runs on Sunday to keep pace.
- RBI: Christian Yelich currently has 109 RBI, two behind the leader in the NL, Javier Baez (111). He would need at least 2 more RBI than Baez to tie or go ahead in the final day of the season. Third place is a 3-way tie at 105 RBI (Aguilar, Rendon, Story).
There’s a lot on the line today as the regular season comes to an end. Remember that MLB.TV is showing all of these games free this weekend, though blackout restrictions apply as always. Of course, I expect many to be at Miller Park on Sunday, cheering loudly to help get the Brewers to that NL Central championship and top seed.
Get ready for the biggest day of baseball in Milwaukee in seven years.