Mon, Oct 14, 2019

The final weekend of the 2019 MLB regular season kicks off tonight with a full slate of night games. The playoff picture continues to come into focus, but a race or two remains undecided. Let’s jump in.

Select games can be streamed regionally via fuboTV (Try for free). For more on what channel each game is on, click here.

Who wins every MLB game? And what underdogs can give you a huge victory tonight? Visit SportsLine now to see the exact score of every MLB game, plus get full player stat projections, all from the model that simulates every game 10,000 times.

Baseball schedule/scores for Friday, September 27

A’s, Rays punch playoff tickets

On Friday night, the Indians fell to the Nationals, and around the same time the Rays topped the Blue Jays. The Cleveland loss punched the Athletics’ ticket to the postseason, and the Rays’ win means they’ll play Oakland in the AL Wild Card Game. The Indians, meantime, are done. 

That AL Wild Card Game will be played on Wednesday, Oct. 2, with the winner advancing to the ALDS, likely to oppose the Astros. Where that Wild Card Game will be played is still uncertain. At this writing, the Rays trail the A’s by just a half-game in the race to determine home-field advantage for that one-and-done affair. If both teams finish with the same record, then Oakland would host by virtue of their winning the season series over the Rays. 

For the A’s, it’s their second straight trip to the Wild Card Game. They fell to the Yankees last season. The A’s also played in the Wild Card Game in 2014, when they lost to the Royals. Oakland hasn’t advanced beyond the LDS round in the postseason since 2006. Manager Bob Melvin has now led the A’s to the playoffs five times.

The Rays return to the postseason for the first time since 2013, when they lost to the Red Sox in the ALDS. This will mark the fifth playoff appearance in franchise history, and the first under manager Kevin Cash. The Rays previously won the pennant in 2008 with Joe Maddon in the dugout. The Rays this year make the postseason despite ranking last in MLB in Opening Day payroll. 

Speaking of that: 

While the A’s punched their ticket just before taking the field against the Mariners, the Rays had to take care of their own business in Toronto. Doing so occasioned an on-field celebration: 

Rays-A’s. It rhymes and everything.

Astros lock up home-field advantage in AL

The Astros won their 105th game of the season on Friday night, and that means they’ve secured home-field advantage throughout the AL side of the playoff bracket. The Yankees with 103 wins and two to play could still pull even with Houston, but the Astros would win the tiebreaker thanks to their winning four of seven against the Yankees during the regular season. 

This also means that the Astros will face either the A’s or Rays in the ALDS, while the Yankees will play the Twins in the Division Series. In essence, home-field advantage means that the Astros will play a potential ALDS Game 5 and or a potential ALCS Game 7 at home. This season the Astros are an MLB-best 60-21 at Minute Maid Park. Right now, they also lead the Dodgers in the race for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Twins get to 100

The Twins picked up an abbreviated victory over the Royals on Friday night — the game was called because of rain after six and a half innings — and for the first time since 1965, Minnesota has notched a 100-win season. This puts them in the 2019 company of the Astros, Dodgers and Yankees, and that means MLB history: 

Yes, for the first time in MLB history we have four 100-win teams in a single season. More: 

Coming into Friday night, we actually had a shot at having five 100-win teams — the Braves entered their three-game road series against the Mets with 97 wins — but they suffered their 63rd loss of the season. 

Heavily aiding these win totals are of course the tanking teams. We’ve got three 100-loss teams for just the 11th time ever (the record is four 100-loss teams in 2002), and it’s possible that fully one-third of the teams in MLB this season will lose 90 or more games. For now, though, let’s keep it positive and shout-out the Twins for reaching this hallowed mark. 

Mets’ Alonso ties rookie HR record

Standout Mets rookie first baseman Pete Alonso tied Yankees slugger Aaron Judge’s record for the most home runs by a rookie in MLB history. Alonso hit the 52nd long ball — a solo homer — of his first-year season in the first inning off Braves lefty Dallas Keuchel

Here’s the top four sluggers for the most home runs in a rookie season:

T-1. Alonso – 52, 2019
T-1. Judge 52, 2017
2. Mark McGwire 49, 1987
3. Cody Bellinger 39, 2017

Alonso’s not only atop this season’s rookie home run leaderboard, but he also has the most home runs in the league as well. The Reds’ Eugenio Suarez with 49 home runs and Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger with 46 sit behind Alonso.

Alonso still has time to pass Judge in the history books because there are two more games on Saturday and Sunday. Alonso, 24, is already this year’s Home Run Derby champion and the obvious NL Rookie of the Year favorite, and it’s going to be fun to watch him chase the record in this final weekend.

Yankees hit 300th home run

On Thursday, the Twins became the first team in MLB history to hit 300 home runs in a season, and on Friday night the Yankees promptly joined him. No. 300 from the Yanks was a no-doubter from Giancarlo Stanton: 

Thanks to injuries, Stanton has just three home runs in 16 games this season, but this 440-footer was a pretty important one in historical terms. It’s also the Yankees’ 120th home run in their last 53 games. Their race with the Twins for both the all-time MLB record and the MLB lead for 2019 should be a photo finish over this last weekend of the regular season. 

Highlight of the day: Almora robs Molina twice

You’re about to see Cubs fly-catcher Albert Almora rob Cardinals warrior-poet Yadier Molina not once but twice with catches in center field. The first one can be rightly characterized as “a nifty snare,” and the second one surely numbers among the catch of the year candidates. Let’s roll color-television footage: 

Milwaukee surely approved. Almora hasn’t done much hitting this season, but on occasion he can go and get the darn baseball in center.

Quick hits

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