Game 162: We could have CHAOS!

October 3rd, 2021

There is only one full day left in the 2021 regular season -- and the postseason field still is far from set after a thrilling Saturday that set up what figures to be a chaotic Sunday.

Though eight teams have clinched their spot in the playoffs, four teams are still fighting to claim the two American League Wild Card berths -- meaning a four-way tie for the final two spots is still on the table.

The Yankees lost on Saturday, while the Red Sox, Blue Jays and Mariners all won, setting the table for a frantic final day on Sunday. The Yankees and Red Sox enter Game 162 tied for those two Wild Card spots, while the Blue Jays and Mariners are each just one game back.

Meanwhile, in the NL, the Dodgers still have a shot to win the NL West following their 8-3 win over the Brewers and the Giants' 3-2 loss to the Padres on Saturday.

With so much still on the line, keep in mind that every game on Sunday begins at 3 p.m. ET.

Here's a closer look at how those races will unfold on the season's final day:

Playoff races

AL Wild Card
Four teams -- the Yankees, Red Sox, Mariners and Blue Jays -- remain in the hunt for the two AL Wild Card spots, though the Yanks and Sox have at least guaranteed themselves an opportunity to play in a potential tiebreaker game. Both would clinch a spot in the AL Wild Card Game with a win. If the Yankees (hosting the Rays) and Red Sox (on the road against the Nationals) both win on Sunday, then Boston would host New York in the AL Wild Card Game on Tuesday (Red Sox won the season series, 10-9, giving them home-field advantage for the winner-take-all showdown).

Of course, if either of them lose, it would open the door for the Blue Jays and Mariners. Toronto needs a win at home against Baltimore and a loss by New York or Boston to set up a potential tiebreaker game on Monday for a chance to earn a Wild Card spot. Likewise, the Mariners -- who kept their postseason hopes alive with a dramatic comeback on Saturday night -- need to beat the Angels again on Sunday afternoon, and get a loss by either the Yankees or Red Sox, to put themselves in position for a potential tiebreaker game.

Here's a look at each of the pitching matchups for those four teams in Sunday's finale:

Red Sox at Nationals: LHP Chris Sale vs. RHP Joan Adon (MLB debut)

Rays at Yankees: RHP Michael Wacha vs. RHP Jameson Taillon

Orioles at Blue Jays: LHP Bruce Zimmermann vs. LHP Hyun Jin Ryu

Angels at Mariners: LHP Reid Detmers vs. LHP Tyler Anderson

NL West
The Giants are still in control despite Saturday's 3-2 loss to the Padres, but the Dodgers brought the division race down to the final day with their 8-3 win over the Brewers on Saturday night. Los Angeles is one game back of San Francisco, meaning the Giants can still clinch the NL West title -- and send the Dodgers to host the Cardinals in the NL Wild Card Game -- with either a win or a Dodgers loss on Sunday. However, if the Giants lose to the Padres and the Dodgers beat the Brewers on Sunday, then San Francisco and Los Angeles will meet for Game 163 on Monday at Oracle Park to determine which club wins the division (and a spot in the NL Division Series) and which team hosts the Cardinals in Wednesday's winner-take-all NL Wild Card Game.

Here's a look at the pitching matchups for each team on Sunday:

Padres at Giants: RHP Reiss Knehr vs. RHP Logan Webb

Brewers at Dodgers: LHP Brett Anderson vs. RHP Walker Buehler

Statistical races

Batting average titles
Trea Turner collected two more hits on Saturday to raise his MLB-leading average to .328. Juan Soto, meanwhile, is just 2-for-19 over his last six games, dropping his season average to .315.

Meanwhile, in the AL, a pair of Astros teammates -- Yuli Gurriel (.318) and Michael Brantley (.313) -- are battling it out with Toronto's Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (.311) for the title.

Home run crowns
Salvador Perez leads the Majors with 48 home runs, followed by Vladimir Guerrero Jr. with 47. Shohei Ohtani has 45 and Marcus Semien has 44.

The NL home run crown looks likely to go to Fernando Tatis Jr. (42), who clubbed a 467-foot moonshot that bounced off the roof of the Dodger Stadium pavilion Thursday. Atlanta's Adam Duvall (38) would need a record day on Sunday to dethrone Tatis.

Strikeout leaders
Toronto's Robbie Ray (248) is in line to win the AL strikeout title after Yankees ace Gerrit Cole (243) potentially made his final regular-season outing Wednesday at Toronto. Ray added four K's on Thursday against New York to retake the MLB lead from the Phillies' Zack Wheeler (247).

As for the NL, Wheeler has managed to hold off Max Scherzer (236) and Corbin Burnes (234).

ERA leaders
Ray also appears poised to claim the AL ERA title, with his 2.84 mark representing the only sub-3.00 ERA in the AL. Houston's Lance McCullers Jr. moved into second place after his outing Thursday at 3.16.

The race for the NL (and MLB) ERA title is much tighter. Burnes (2.43) managed to remain ahead of Scherzer (2.46 ERA) despite his rocky two-inning performance on Saturday against the Dodgers. Walker Buehler (2.49 ERA) could claim the title if he turns in a gem in Sunday's finale.

League awards

Ohtani has built the most unique case in the history of the MVP Award, though Guerrero will try to make one final push for the AL MVP Award by willing the Blue Jays into the postseason.

The NL MVP race is a bit more open, with Bryce Harper, Tatis and Soto taking it down to the wire.

Cy Young
Cole had an opportunity to make a Cy Young statement on Wednesday at Toronto but was hit hard for five earned runs on nine hits in six innings. Ray did not enjoy his strongest outing in response Thursday, allowing three Yankees homers in the sixth inning while giving up five total runs. Ray leads Cole in ERA, strikeouts and WHIP, while Cole has won more games, allowed fewer home runs and owns a better strikeout-to-walk ratio.

As for the NL Cy Young Award, the frontrunners have shuffled spots a few times over the last month, but it seems to likely be down to Scherzer and Burnes. With that said, back-to-back starts with five earned runs allowed hasn't helped Scherzer and Burnes allowed three runs in his two-inning start on Saturday. Wheeler and Buehler remain in the conversation, as well.

Rookie of the Year
On the heels of his incredible postseason performance seemingly out of nowhere, Tampa Bay's Randy Arozarena has made a solid case for the AL Rookie of the Year Award, but Baltimore's Ryan Mountcastle -- who hit his 33rd homer Thursday for the Orioles -- is making a late charge.

Meanwhile, the Reds' Jonathan India seems likely to claim the NL ROY Award, though the other top candidates include the Marlins' Trevor Rogers and the Cubs' Patrick Wisdom.