The Oakland A’s and Tampa Bay Rays have officially clinched a playoff spot which means the Cleveland Indians have been eliminated from contention, per ESPN. The Indians needed to win their remaining games while getting help from either the A’s or Rays in order to snag one of the two AL Wild Card spots. The Rays and A’s will continue battling to see who gets to host the Wild Card matchup.
“That’s pretty much why we play the game is to get an opportunity to play in the postseason,” Oakland starting pitcher Mike Fiers told ESPN. “Obviously we set our goals to win the division — that didn’t happen, but as long as we’re in we have an opportunity to make some noise. We can’t ask for anything more than that.”
Prior to being eliminated, Indians manager Terry Francona noted that the team would keep fighting despite their recent struggles.
“Until somebody tells us we gotta go home, we gotta keep grinding,” Indians manager Terry Francona told Cleveland.com. “We can’t let up. The natural thing is to feel sorry for yourself. We can’t do it. We haven’t done it yet.”
The A’s have three games in Seattle to close out the season, while Tampa Bay takes on Toronto for their three remaining games which are also on the road. The Indians face a much more difficult task of squaring off with the playoff-bound Nationals also on the road for their final three-game series.
The A’s Hold the Tiebreaker Over the Rays & Indians If There Was a Three-Way Tie
At one time, there was the potential for a three-way tie in the AL Wild Card standings. The A’s hold the tiebreaker over the Rays and Indians based on winning the season series against both teams, per MLB.com.
On Monday, Sept. 30, Team A would host Team B. The winner of that game would proceed to the AL Wild Card Game on Wednesday, Oct. 2.
On Tuesday, Oct. 1, the loser of the game between Team A and Team B would travel to face Team C in Team C’s ballpark. The winner of that game would also proceed to the Wild Card Game.
The winner of the Wild Card Game would face the AL’s No. 1 seed in the best-of-five Division Series that begins next Friday, Oct. 4.
Because the A’s won the season series against the other two clubs (4-3 over the Rays, 5-1 over the Indians), they would have first choice of designation. The Rays, who won the season series against the Indians (6-1) would choose second. The Indians would take whatever is left over.
No coin flips necessary!
AL Wild Card Standings
Teams in bold would be the two AL Wild Card clubs if the season ended today.
AL Playoff Matchups
Here is a look at the current American League playoff matchups if the season ended today.
AL Wild Card: No. 5 Tampa Bay Rays vs. No. 4 Oakland A’s
ALDS: No. 3 Minnesota Twins vs. No. 2 New York Yankees
ALDS: Rays/A’s vs. No. 1 Houston Astros