As the season enters the final days, we are into serious scoreboard-watching time. You may be compulsively checking your smartphone for an update on the Royals score. But other games have playoff implications too. If you are conflicted about whom to root for, we are here to help.
The Mariners are alive, if barely, in the wild card hunt. The Tigers have two wins and four losses against Seattle this year, with only 15 runs scored and 27 runs allowed. The Mariners have Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma, and James Paxton. Root for the Blue Jays.
Orioles vs. Yankees, Orioles vs. Blue Jays
The Tigers could face the Orioles in the first round of the playoffs. The Tigers won five of six games with Baltimore this year, and only three of seven with Los Angeles. The Orioles could take the top seed in the playoffs with a great weekend. Root for the Orioles' opponents.
Oakland ends the season with four games against the Rangers. If the Tigers win the division, then the A's would make a fine postseason opponent. The A's have lost 26 of their last 40 games, and are used to losing to Detroit in the playoffs. As long as the Tigers could fall into a wild card slot, cheer for Texas. If and when the Tigers clinch the division, start cheering for Oakland. This could happen in the middle of Oakland's game on Saturday night and cause some confusion.
Royals vs. White Sox
The Royals have been terribly pesky staying alive in the chase for first place. We have been cheering against them for a month or two now. But if the Tigers take first place, suddenly we can become Royals fans for the rest of the weekend. Detroit beat Kansas City in 13-of-19 games this year, and watching Ned Yost hamstring his team is good for the heart. So pull for the White Sox in case we need the wild card, but if the division is ours switch to Kansas City.
It would be fun to cheer for Cleveland for a few days, as they would be a preferable wild card as opposed to Seattle, but Cleveland's goose is about to be cooked. Save your powers of pulling for opponents and skip this score.
Angels vs. Mariners
We want the Angels to finish with the best record in the American League. We want the Mariners to fall out of the wild card hunt, either because the Tigers need it as a backup plan, or because Oakland and Kansas City are more attractive opponents. Cheer lustily for the Angels, unless the Tigers become the wild card. But let's not go there.