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Implications abound in the American League, where the Rangers and A's will play each other to settle the West, and the Yankees will try to avoid having to face the Orioles in a tiebreaker tomorrow for the East.
Here we are. At long last, the final day of the regular season. It sure would be nice if today had meaning for Cubs fans beyond the obvious, "no more pain until April."
- The Texas Rangers have been in sole possession of first place in the AL West since April 9th. I should say had been, because after last night's win, the A's pulled into a tie atop the standings. That means the two teams will square off today with a great deal on the line: the winner claims the AL West, and skips over the Wild Card round of the playoffs, while the loser has to play either the Yankees or Orioles in a one-game playoff. You think they don't really, really want to win today?
- Those Yankees and Orioles are also still battling in the AL East, with the Yankees holding a one-game lead going into the final games of the regular season. The Yankees play the Red Sox, while the Orioles play the Rays. If the Orioles win and the Yankees lose, the two teams will have to play in a division tiebreaker tomorrow. I don't know about you, but that's definitely what I'm rooting for.
- Oh, the Cardinals clinched the second NL Wild Card yesterday, which means the Dodgers will miss the playoffs after going hog wild in the acquisition market this season.
- Miguel Cabrera currently leads the AL in batting average, RBI, and home runs (by one over Josh Hamilton), and he'll try to finish the day on top in those three categories to put together the first triple crown season since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.
- Ben Sheets will retire after his start today for the Braves, and will not pitch in the postseason. His comeback, alone, was improbable, let alone the 3.50ish ERA he put up in about 50 innings for the Braves. He's expected to throw just two innings today, as the Braves set up their rotation for the playoffs.
- The Mariners are moving in the fences at Safeco Field next year, with the most notable change coming in the left field power alley, which will shrink from 390 feet to 378 feet. Good luck with that mediocre pitchers who've looked better than expected while pitching for the Mariners.
- FanGraphs looks at how teams did in their free agent signings this year.
- Adam Greenberg struck out on three pitches in his "one at-bat" yesterday for the Marlins. Of course, R.A. Dickey has done that to a lot of hitters this year.