Raul Ibanez’ late-inning heroics kept the Yankees in the game and then another clutch moment by Raul kept the Yankees in control of their playoff destiny while the Red Sox were denied their consolation prize of playing the spoiler. If the Yankees win today or if Baltimore loses in Tampa today, they get the Division and home field advantage throughout the playoffs. If the Yankees lose and Baltimore wins, things get messy.
If the Yankees (94-67) lose today and Baltimore (93-68) wins, they will play a one-game playoff against each other for the Division, the loser of which would play one further game against Oakland (93-68) or Texas (93-68) to win one of the two wild card play-ins. The loser of that game goes home.
Oakland has won five in a row including the last two head-to-head with the Rangers to knot those teams with one game to play. The winner of today’s 12:35PT start at the Coliseum (Ryan Dempster, A.J. Griffin.. I’ll be watching that one) gets the West, and the loser gets the other wild card slot.
Regarding home field advantage, under the scenario where the Yankees lose and Baltimore wins today but the Yanks defeat Baltimore in a one game playoff for the Division, the Yankees would still get home field if either Texas wins (due to a 4-3 head-to-head record) or if Oakland wins (5-5 head-to-head record but the Yankees have a better intradivisional record).
If Baltimore wins today and goes on to beat the Yankees in a one-game playoff for the division, the winner of the west would get home field advantage as both have winning records against Baltimore. I don’t know why I am bringing up the fact that Detroit clinched days ago yet will finish with a worse record than the Rays and Angels. Hell, if the Yankees win and Baltimore wins, an awesome 94-win team will be sitting at home with no chance while an 87-win team goes to the Dance.
Anyway by game time, we will know the winner of the West, and will keep one eye cast towards Tampa as Chris Tillman starts for the Orioles, Jeremy Hellickson for the Rays at the Trop. As that plays out, Daisuke Matsuzka starts for Boston, Hiroki Kuroda for the Yankees in the last game of the Reggalar.