The Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals both won Sunday. The wild-card scenarios are fairly straightforward for the two teams entering their final series of the season (the Dodgers host the San Francisco Giants, the Cardinals visit the Cincinnati Reds).
There are 16 possible outcomes, and the Cardinals make the playoffs in 13 of them. In two, the two teams finish the regular season with identical records and the Dodgers will host Game 163 next Thursday, with the winner traveling to Atlanta for the wild-card game. Only if the Dodgers and Reds both sweep can the Dodgers clinch a playoff berth on the final day of the regular season.
The bottom line: The Dodgers must win at least two of their final three games to even have a chance, and the Cardinals cannot win more than one of three.
The earliest the Dodgers can be eliminated is Tuesday, and they cannot clinch before Wednesday.
Dodger fans looking for someone to epitomize the dire state of today’s opponent, the Colorado Rockies, have their man. Batting second and playing center field for the Rockies, is Rafael Ortega.
Here’s all you need to know about Ortega: The 21-year-old Venezuelan has never played an inning of baseball beyond the Single-A California League. He ended the season with a .284 batting average and 36 stolen bases for the Modesto Nuts. The Cal League is notorious for being a hitter’s league; the “average” batting average in the league this season was .273.
Today, he’ll make his big-league debut.
Here’s more from the Denver Post:
Clayton Kershaw is tentatively scheduled to start Wednesday on regular rest in the Dodgers’ regular-season finale against the Giants, but nobody truly knows when he’ll pitch next.
Will it be this season? Next season? In the regular season? In the playoffs?
Truth is, nobody knows, and Dodgers manager Don Mattingly wasn’t even in the mood for giving hints Saturday afternoon.
“We haven’t really crossed that bridge yet,” Mattingly said. “I hope it’s not a decision at all. I hope he’s needed to pitch.”
There’s only three scenarios under which it’s not a decision: