Well, here we are. There will be no game 163, and we have our playoff matchups all set in stone. In the Wild Card playoff games, the Braves will host the Cardinals and the Rangers will host the Orioles on Friday. The Nationals will await the winner of the NL Wild Card playoff in game one of the NLDS on Sunday, while the Yankees will take on the AL Wild Card playoff winner in game one of the ALDS on Sunday. Meanwhile, the first two Division Series matchups will begin on Saturday, with the Tigers hosting the A's in the American League, and the Giants hosting the Reds in the National League. It all begins on Friday at 5:07 PM eastern…and here we go.
Game of the Day: A's 12, Rangers 5. I covered Josh Hamilton's dropped pop-up yesterday, which potentially cost the Rangers the game..but aside from that, this was a good game early on. The A's took a 1-0 lead in the first after a Brandon Moss double, but that lead was short-lived after the Rangers exploded for five runs in the third against AJ Griffin, who lasted for just eight outs during the game. Unfortunately for the Rangers, those five runs would be all they'd get. The A's put a six spot on the board in the fourth, with a two-run double by Coco Crisp tying the game and the aforementioned dropped pop-up putting Oakland in front. After that, it turned into a story of the A's bullpen dominating the Rangers. The Oakland relief corps allowed just four hits and one walk over 6 1/3, striking out eight Texas hitters. The A's added insurance in the eighth to make the game 12-5, and Grant Balfour finished the Rangers off for the third straight day to give the A's the AL West division championship.
Pitching Lines of the Day: Brandon Morrow ended his 2012 on a high note in Toronto's 2-1 win over Minnesota, allowing one run on three hits over eight innings, walking three and striking out 11. Clayton Kershaw did his damdnest to pad his credentials for a second straight NL Cy Young, beating the Giants 5-1 and allowing one run on three hits over eight innings, walking three and striking out eight…landing just one strikeout behind RA Dickey for the NL's lead. Gavin Floyd had a solid start to end an impressive, yet disappointing, season for the White Sox in their 9-0 win in Cleveland, throwing seven shutout frames and allowing three hits, two walks, and six strikeouts. Finally, there's the performance of Cardinals rookie Shelby Miller, who allowed one hit over six shutout innings, walking two and striking out seven in St Louis' 1-0 win over the Reds.
Hitting Lines of the Day: Dan Johnson did it on the last day of the season again, going 3/5 with three homers and five RBI for the White Sox. Evan Longoria did it again too, going 3/4 with three solo homers for the Rays in their 4-1 win over the Orioles. In the Yankees' 14-2 blowout win over the Red Sox, Robinson Cano went 4/4 with three runs, six RBI, a walk, and a pair of homers, while Curtis Granderson went 2/4 with two homers and four RBI. Dayan Viciedo got his OBP for the season to .300 after a 3/4 game that saw him score four runs, walk, double, and homer. Chase Headley staked his claim as to being the league's most underrated player in the Padres' 7-6 win over the Brewers, going 2/2 with a run, two RBI, two walks, a double, a triple, and a stolen base.
Other Games: The Braves shut out the Pirates 4-0 in the final game for Ben Sheets and the final regular season game for Chipper Jones. The Mariners obliterated the Angels 12-0. The Nationals beat the Phillies 5-1 to clinch the best record in the majors, and send their divisional rival to a .500 record. The Cubs ended an awful season with a 5-4 walkoff win over the Astros. The Mets beat the Marlins 4-2. The Rockies edged the Diamondbacks 2-1 to give Arizona a disappointing .500 record for the year. The Tigers shut out the Royals 1-0.
Today's Games: Well, nothing today. The playoffs start on Friday, and they will be awesome.
Enjoy your day of playoff hype.