Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

MLB’s regular season wraps up neat and clean on final day

Baltimore Orioles relief pitcher Zach Britton high-fives catcher Matt Wieters after defeating the New York Yankees on Oct. 2, 2016. The Orioles' win gave them a wild card playoff spot.

Kathy Kmonicek/The Associated Press

So much for any Game No. 162 chaos in baseball: The San Francisco Giants, Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles grabbed the last three playoff spots Sunday, and the October matchups are set.

Neat and clean, no need for all sorts of tiebreakers. Too bad – that kind of final-day scramble might have been fun for fans.

Instead, they could sit back, savour Vin Scully's farewell call and prepare for the postseason. It opens Tuesday night when the Orioles visit Toronto in the American League wild-card game.

Story continues below advertisement

"All we asked for is an opportunity, and right now, we have an opportunity," Baltimore centre fielder Adam Jones said after a 5-2 win over the New York Yankees. "So let's celebrate and enjoy this and get back to work."

No official word yet on the starting pitchers at Rogers Centre. Figures to be Chris Tillman for the Orioles against Marcus Stroman.

On Wednesday night, aces duel as Madison Bumgarner starts for the Giants against Noah Syndergaard and the New York Mets at Citi Field for the National League wild card.

"We found a way to get back to where we need to be," Bumgarner said after a 7-1 win finished off a sweep at Dodger Stadium. "If we play like we have been the last three days, we'll be tough to beat."

On Thursday, the best-of-five AL Division Series begins: David Ortiz and Boston at Cleveland, and the wild-card winner at Texas.

"I guess I wish Ortiz would consider retiring early," said Indians manager Terry Francona, who previously guided Big Papi with the Red Sox, "but I don't see that happening."

On Friday night, Clayton Kershaw starts Game 1 for the Los Angeles Dodgers at Washington, and the NL wild card plays the best-in-the-majors Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.

Story continues below advertisement

Going into Game 162, Detroit and St. Louis also had a chance to reach the postseason. That raised the possibility of multiteam, multicity tiebreakers going into early next week.

The Tigers were in the middle of that mix. They hoped to win at Atlanta and have either the Orioles or Blue Jays lose – then, they would've need to win a makeup game at home Monday against Detroit to force a tiebreaker for an AL wild-card spot.

"I would not have enjoyed the travel," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said, "but I would have relished travelling."

But that kind of drama never developed as the teams holding leads took care of business.

Manager Buck Showalter and Baltimore sealed their spot, winning at Yankee Stadium. When the Tigers later lost 1-0 at Atlanta in the last game at Turner Field, they were out and Toronto was back in for the second straight year.

Later, the Blue Jays' 2-1 victory at Fenway Park meant they would host Baltimore.

Story continues below advertisement

With all-star catcher Buster Posey getting three hits and driving in three runs, San Francisco finished off the Dodgers and eliminated the Cardinals.

The Giants have enjoyed a recent run of even-year success, winning the World Series in 2010, 2012 and 2014.

The last time they reached the postseason, Bumgarner pitched a shutout at Pittsburgh in the wild-card game and went on to become the World Series MVP. So another cross-country flight to begin the playoffs was fine by them.

"I don't think it bothers anybody that we go on the road to win these games. It's actually a lot of fun," first baseman Brandon Belt said. "With Bumgarner on the mound, we're going to have a good shot."

Report an error
As of December 20, 2017, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this resolved by the end of January 2018. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to