This is going to be a great last two days of regular season baseball. We have (almost) the same situation in both the American League and in the National League.
Let’s start with the NL:
As of September 1st, the Atlanta Braves were sitting atop the wild card race with the St. Louis Cardinals 8.5 games back. 26 days later, the Cardinals are only 1 game behind Atlanta for the wild card. Atlanta is playing the best-record-in-baseball Philadelphia Phillies in Georgia. The Cardinals are playing the worst-record-in-baseball Houston Astros. Last night, the Braves lost and the Cards took the Astros into extra innings but couldn’t get it done so they’re still behind by one game. However, they have 2 games to force a one-game tie-breaker or to take the lead, depending on how the Braves do.
We know the story since the Orioles are right in the middle of it, but for the AL:
The Yankees were at the top of the wild card race as the Red Sox were atop the AL East on September 1st. The Tampa Bay Rays were 8.5 games back from the Yankees. We know how the Red Sox have collapsed, winning only 6 games this month; the Orioles have played a role in that as well. Last night, with the 6-3 win over the Red Sox, the Orioles allowed the Rays to tie for the wild card as they beat a I-don’t-care-about-any-aspect-of-these-last-two-games Yankees. These last two games will determine everything for the playoffs. As such, the Orioles-Red Sox game will be aired on ESPN Wednesday night as they’ll most likely be playing for the post season.
I feel that the Rays have the best chance to win this one. They’re playing a Yankees team that has not one single ounce of desire to win because they don’t care. Now they’re just resting everyone for the playoffs. The Rays care. The Red Sox, on the other hand, are playing the Orioles. Even though they’re terrible, they’ve been on fire this month and are playing for something…dignity and fun. In addition, the Red Sox haven’t won back-to-back games in over a month and with their desperate situation and terrible confidence, I don’t see that changing in Baltimore.