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Sports On final day, 2 NL spots and AL Central crown in play

13:17  27 september  2020
13:17  27 september  2020 Source:   msn.com

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The AL Central Showdown, for whatever reason, has more random variance than the other divisions. While you won't know the final boss before you draft your team, you can tell who it will be afterwards by looking at the logo in the Final Showdown window.

The National League playoff race is still wide open heading into the scheduled final day of the regular The Cubs and Brewers are still battling for the NL Central title, and the Rockies and Dodgers are Both games would be on ESPN. There have been four tiebreaker games played in MLB since

a group of baseball players standing on top of a grass covered field © Provided by The Canadian Press

Four teams, two National League playoff spots.

And the AL Central champion.

Besides post-season seeding, that's what remains to be decided on the last scheduled day of this bizarre baseball season. It could all come down to the wire at once in a wild rush, too, with every meaningful game Sunday starting just after 3 p.m. EDT.

“If you said that to me before the season started or on opening day, I would probably look right at you very honestly and say, ‘I would not be surprised if this season came down to the very last game.’ And that’s what we get,” Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli said.

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FINAL WEEK. Fernando Tatis Jr. and the Padres are headed to the playoffs, so are DJ LeMahieu Tampa Bay, Oakland, the White Sox and Minnesota also have earned AL spots , and Cleveland With six spots in play , it should be an entertaining week with Cincinnati, Milwaukee and San Francisco all

The National League playoff race is still wide open heading into the scheduled final day of the regular The Cubs and Brewers are still battling for the NL Central title, and the Rockies and Dodgers are Both games would be on ESPN. There have been four tiebreaker games played in MLB since

Christian Yelich and the Brewers control their own fate. So do Yadier Molina and the Cardinals. The winner of their matchup Sunday in St. Louis punches a post-season ticket. Brett Anderson (4-3) pitches for Milwaukee against Austin Gomber (1-1).

San Francisco is still breathing, but needs help. Bryce Harper and the Philadelphia Phillies need even more.

One more chance to play in October as part of a playoff field expanded to 16 teams this year following a rocky regular season reduced to 60 games because of the coronavirus.

“It’s frustrating because you see the team that you have around you and you know we should be there — we should easily be there,” Phillies outfielder Andrew McCutchen said Saturday night after a 4-3 loss at Tampa Bay left Philadelphia on the brink of elimination. “To be on the outside looking in right now, it can be frustrating at times.”

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Cubs' race for NL Central crown continues. 3 storylines to watch as Chicago enters its final When the Cubs clinched a spot in the postseason earlier this week, the hope was that they might also The third baseman has been receiving treatment over the past few days and Ross hoped to get him some

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The Phillies (28-31) got a reprieve hours later, staying in the race when San Francisco lost to San Diego. They need a win Sunday over the Rays and losses by the Giants and Brewers to land their first playoff berth in nine years.

San Francisco (29-30) needs a victory over the visiting Padres and a Brewers loss. The Cardinals (29-28) make it with a win or a Giants loss. Milwaukee (29-30) is in with a win or losses by the Giants and Phillies.

“We just have to keep our head up and try to win,” San Francisco pitcher Johnny Cueto said.

Over in the American League, all eight teams are set. All that's left to be determined is seeding — and first place in the Central.

Minnesota has a one-game lead and can lock up its second consecutive division crown — and the No. 2 seed in the AL — with a win at home against Cincinnati or a White Sox loss at home to the Cubs.

"I look at that 2019 banner a lot up there at the stadium, so it’d be nice to put another one up there,” Twins reliever Taylor Rogers said.

Dodgers top NL seed; Braves claim East; Indians in playoffs

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Two of those three teams will play in next week’s AL play -in game, but which two and where? This week’s Baseball Report looks at the AL and NL wild card races, the state of play in the NL Central and the chances of MLB having four 100-game winners.

While the AL East and NL West are still up in the air, focus is on the wild card spots in each league. Days left in the season: 12. Tuesday’s big loser: Baltimore. Back-to-back losses to the Red Sox have left the Orioles five games out in the AL East.

If the teams finish tied, Chicago wins the division because it holds the tiebreaker over the Twins.

"It would mean a lot for all of us that have been here for the last couple of years,” White Sox infielder Yoán Moncada said through a translator. “It would be a really good starting point for us for the next season because we would have that foundation there.”

AL East champion Tampa Bay has clinched the league's top seed. Oakland won the AL West and will also play a best-of-three first-round series at home beginning Tuesday — possibly against rival Houston.

Even without winning the Central, Minnesota is assured of playing at home, where the Twins are a major league-best 24-6. Cleveland can earn home-field advantage with a win over last-place Pittsburgh and a White Sox loss.

The Yankees and Blue Jays are also in, but headed out on the road.

Anthony Rizzo and the Chicago Cubs clinched the NL Central crown Saturday night even while losing to the crosstown White Sox. So the third-seeded Cubs will open at home Wednesday just like the other National League division winners, top-seeded Los Angeles and No. 2 seed Atlanta.

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Heading into the final day of the season, there's more than a little still to be decided. For starters, MLB's final playoff berth—the second AL wild card—is up for grabs after the Oakland Athletics lost Saturday and the Seattle Mariners stayed alive by beating the Los Angeles Angels

Nine days later they clinched the AL East with a win over in rival New York. No Red Sox team has ever won more Whether Chicago can win their third straight NL Central crown remains to be seen but the Cubs are in But a slump over the final two weeks proved too much for the Cardinals to overcome.

“This one feels good,” Rizzo said.

San Diego will be the No. 4 seed. Cincinnati and surprising Miami have also secured spots, though their seeds are still to be determined.

Houston (29-30), Milwaukee (29-30) or Philadelphia (28-31) could become the first team in major league history to qualify for the post-season with a losing record.

The Astros, who close their season at Texas, have already clinched their fourth straight playoff appearance. That means first-year manager Dusty Baker will take his fifth different franchise to the post-season in that role.

And there's also a possibility the regular season could extend to Monday.

If the Cardinals lose Sunday and San Francisco wins, St. Louis must head to Detroit for a doubleheader Monday to make up two games postponed by the Cardinals' coronavirus outbreak this summer.

Makeup games to settle the playoff race. Certainly would be a fitting way to finish the 2020 season.

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Mike Fitzpatrick, The Associated Press


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