Rafael Devers played big time for the Boston Red Sox. Aaron Judge did just that for the New York Yankees. And Buster Posey led the San Francisco Giants to the NL West crown, leaving the Dodgers in a dangerous 106-win in a dangerous wild-card game.
In a flash, the Major League Baseball playoff ground was settled on Sunday.
No crazy tiebreaker scenarios. No chaos on the last day. And for fans who wanted drama — no problem, he’s on deck.
Yankees-Red Sox to start postseason in October-October duel at Fenway Park. Know known?
“We will be ready,” said Boston manager Alex Cora. “it should be fun.”
Boston and New York both scored winning runs in the ninth inning in Game 162 to seal their places in the AL wild-card matchup on Tuesday night when it would be Yankees ace Gerrit Cole against Nathan Iovaldi.
So between now and then, count on watching endless replays of Bucky Dent’s home run The Green Monster, which lifted the Yankees over Boston in the famous 1978 one-game meeting for the AL East title.
At this year’s after-season party was Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and his Toronto Blue Jays with the Seattle Mariners; Each of them needed a loss by the Red Sox or the Yankees to stand a chance.
“Unfortunately, our fate was in the hands of the other team,” said George Springer, who made it home twice in Toronto’s win over Baltimore. “We were expecting something, but apparently it didn’t happen.”
The Giants pulled off their franchise-record 107th win to beat the NL West 11-4 from Posey’s three RBIs. He needed all those victories to stop the World Series champion Dodgers.
“You’re going to work hard to see another race like this,” said three-time champion catcher Posey, who sat out last season due to COVID-19 concerns.
The Dodgers got down to the NL wild-card game on Wednesday night when they host the hard-charging St. Louis Cardinals. Pretty neat swag too: Max Scherzer vs. Adam Wainwright.
The Best of Five Division Series begins Thursday with a pair of AL games.
It will be 76-year-old Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa who will lead the Chicago White Sox to a match against 72-year-old captain Dusty Baker and the Astros in Houston.
In addition, 20-year-old rookie sensation Wander Franco and the Tampa Bay Rays will welcome the AL wild-card winner.
On Friday, the NL series begins with Charlie Morton and the Atlanta Braves visiting Corbin Burns and the pitching-rich Milwaukee Brewers, who are still bidding for their first World Series crown.
Posey and the Giants will play the wild-card winner at Oracle Park.
By design, all 15 games started at roughly the same time on the final day of the regular season. It was set up to be an innings-by-innings, back-and-forth scuffle.
And the prospect of a conflagration loomed large: The Yankees and Red Sox tied for two AL wild cards that afternoon, with Toronto and Seattle one game behind.
The Red Sox rallied after going 5-1 in the sixth inning in Washington. Devers launched his second homer of the game, a tiebreaking, two-run drive in the ninth that capped a four-hit, four-RBI performance in a 7–5 victory.
Yankee remained scoreless until the ninth at the stadium. With an out and a second and third runner, Judge struck the glove of one-liner off reliever Andrew Kittredge for a single and, remarkably, his first career walk-off hit in the Majors.
“I wouldn’t say we breathed out,” said the judge. “We still have a lot of work to do.”
Guerrero hit his 48th home run, tying Kansas City catcher Salvador Perez for the major league lead, and Springer hit a Grand Slam and a single shot in a 12-4 romp over the Orioles.
The Mariners’ 20-year postseason drought continued when Shohei Ohtani hit his 46th homer and reached 100 RBI as the Los Angeles Angels beat Seattle 7–3.
“I was really hoping that the other two games, we get some losses for us and then we go ahead and win, so that was the ultimate goal,” Mariners infielder Kyle Seeger said.