Get ready for a wild finish on what’s scheduled to be the final day of the regular season. Cleveland leads the AL wild-card race by one game over Tampa and Texas — many fans are rooting for the drama of a three-team tie. The NL wild-card is clear: Cincinnati visits Pittsburgh for a one-game matchup. Going into today, a quick look at baseball’s playoff picture:
INNING-BY-INNING INTRIGUE: Ubaldo Jimenez and the Indians take a nine-game winning streak into Minnesota. A win puts Cleveland in the playoffs for the first time since 2007. Yu Darvish and Texas have won six straight and host the Angels. Matt Moore tries for his 17th win when the Rays play at Toronto.
PITT-STOP: Opened in 2001 and still one of baseball’s most beautiful showplaces, PNC Park is set to host its first postseason game. Francisco Liriano (16-8) starts for the Pirates against Johnny Cueto (5-2) on Tuesday night. Pittsburgh native Neil Walker homered twice in a clinching 8-3 win Saturday at Cincinnati. “It’s going to be a really exciting time,” Walker said. “Something a lot of people haven’t experienced with Pirate baseball. I imagine it’s going to be Steeler-esque on Tuesday.”
PAIRING UP: Miguel Cabrera and the Tigers will start the best-of-five division series at Oakland on Friday; last year, Detroit downed the A’s in Game 5. Boston has clinched home-field advantage throughout the postseason and will open at Fenway Park against the AL wild-card winner.
HOME COOKING: Atlanta and St. Louis are assured of starting the playoffs at home, even though their opponents aren’t determined yet.