After 161 MLB games, neither league has decided a wild card winner.Entering MLB’s final regular season day, the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays remain tied for the final American League playoff spot. Meanwhile, in the National League, the St. Louis Cardinals erased an 8 ½-game deficit in three weeks and tied the Atlanta Braves in the standings Tuesday night.
Should either race remain tied after today, a one-game playoff willl take place Thursday.
The Red Sox needed the first two home runs of Ryan Lavarnway’s career to win their sixth game this month. The Rays turned a triple play to keep pace.
Jon Lester (BOS) v. Alfredo Simon (BAL)
Lester (15-9) leads the team in wins this season but his September ERA is 5.96 and he’ll be pitching on three days rest. Simon has bounced around from starter to reliever this season and, frankly, hasn’t been very effective in either role.
David Price (TB) v. TBD (NYY)
The Rays hope to cap their improbable comeback with Price on the mound, the same guy that closed out game seven of the 2008 ALCS. No, TBD isn’t the next great Yankee pitcher. Joe Girardi hasn’t decided on a pitcher for their final game but will most likely choose a reliever.
Over in the National League, the Braves can thank the Red Sox for deflecting attention away from their own epic collapse. Atlanta lost its fourth straight game Tuesday while the Cardinals overcame a five-run deficit and sealed a wild card-tying victory.
Tim Hudson (ATL) vs. Joe Blanton (PHI)
The Braves No. 1 starter couldn’t be saved until the playoffs and must now face the Phillies with the season on the line. The ace struggled in his last appearance against Philadelphia, allowing four runs in six innings. With the division locked up, the Phillies will start Joe Blanton, followed by a series of relievers, and possibly Cole Hamels.
Chris Carpenter (STL) vs. Brett Myers (HOU)
After a slow start, Carpenter has finished the season strong and is exactly the man the Cardinals want on the mound in this pressure situation. But he hasn’t won in Houston since 2005. The Astros look to play spoiler with Brett Myers, one of the hottest pitchers in baseball. He’s won four consecutive starts and boasts a 1.24 ERA in his last five games.
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