The National League playoff field is set

Nats win has NL playoff bracket set in stone, AL still in scenario-land despite A's winning West

10/3/12 in MLB   |   JoeKukura   |   488 respect

Blog Photo - The National League playoff field is setThe Boys of October are still sorting themselves out in the American League, with decisive games tonight and maybe even Thursday. The National League playoff field, on the other hand, is all set. Your NL Wild Cards are the St. Louis Cardinals and Atlanta Braves, the NLDS pits the Cincinnati Reds against the San Francisco Giants, and the No. 1 seed in the NL is the team with the best record in baseball, the 98-64 Washington Nationals.
 
The Washington Nationals have earned home field advantage through the World Series. Just let that statement sink in for a second.

The Nationals clinched the top seed the NL by virtue of their 5-1 win over the Phillies on Wednesday afternoon. This marks the first time in franchise history that the Expos-slash-Nationals won their division in a complete season, let alone finished with the best record in baseball.

The Nats will face the winner of Friday night's one-game Wild Card series, the Cardinals or the Braves, in the NL division series starting Sunday. Meanwhile, Game 1 of the Giants-Reds NLDS is Saturday in San Francisco.

While today is the last day of the regular season, the American League playoff field still may not be decided today.

Blog Photo - The National League playoff field is setThe Oakland A's won the AL West with a wild, wild come-from-behind 12-5 win over the Texas Rangers Wednesday afternoon. The Rangers are relegated to Wild Card status. The two teams came in with identical records, and played each other for the division title on the last day of the regular season -- that is just how it ought to be.

The A's and the Detroit Tigers are divisional champs, and the Rangers are a Wild Card. But tonight's Yankees-Red Sox game and Orioles-Rays game will determine the AL East winner and playoff seeding.

If the Yankees win, they win the AL East and have home field by virtue of today's loss by the Rangers. If the Yankees lose and the Orioles win, these two teams would face off in a one-game play-in Thursday in Baltimore, with the winner getting the division title and the loser playing Texas in the Wild Card game.

We still don't know seeding, as multiple teams could finish with the same record. Check MLB.com for all of the byzantine possible tiebreakers.
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