We’re in the final week of the 2021 MLB regular season and things are coming down to the wire in a few division and wild card races. We already know that the Tampa Bay Rays, Chicago White Sox and Milwaukee Brewers have clinched their respective divisions and the Houston Astros should be next. We’re looking at the schedule for Tuesday, Sept. 28 and how games will impact the AL Wild Card race and NL East and West divisions.
MLB playoff picture: Schedule impact for Sept. 28
AL Wild Card
The Red Sox find themselves down 1.0 game to the New York Yankees for the first AL WC. Luckily, Boston gets a three-game series against the last-place Orioles. Chances are the Red Sox will have an easy time in the final week and do mostly scoreboard watching.
New York Yankees vs. Toronto Blue Jays
The Yankees just swept the Red Sox while the Jays splits a four-game set vs. the Twins over the weekend. That has the Yankees 2.0 games ahead of the Jays heading into Tuesday’s series. Jameson Taillon is off the IL and will be starting for the Yankees while Toronto has Hyun Jin Ryu in a big spot. The Jays will need to slow down Giancarlo Stanton, who singlehandedly tore up the Red Sox for 3 HRs and 10 RBI over the weekend.
The A’s and M’s got their series started on Monday night [insert recap of Game 1]. Chris Bassitt will be on the hill for the A’s while Yusei Kikuchi will go for the M’s. This is actually a rematch from last week when these two teams played. Both pitchers failed to last more than 3.0 innings. Kikuchi struggled, allowing 3 ER on 3 hits and 4 walks. Both teams had to go deep into their bullpens before Matt Olson won the game 6-5 on a walk-off homer.
The Braves enter this series in first place in the division up 2.5 games on the Phils. So really, it will only take a few games for ATL to shore up the NL East. Cy Young candidate Zack Wheeler will need to pitch a big game for the Phils, who need to at least take 2 of 3 games to have a shot at the division title. It helps to have NL MVP favorite Bryce Harper, who has 8 HRs, 19 RBI and a 1.252 OPS in September. Charlie Morton will be going for the Braves. He’s pretty familiar with the Phillies, going 2-2 with 6 ER over 17.2 IP with 21 Ks.
Diamondbacks vs. Giants
Padres vs. Dodgers
The Giants lead the Dodgers by 2.0 games heading into Tuesday night with two series left in the season. The two teams won’t play each other, an error of whoever is in charge of scheduling for MLB. Anyway, the Giants have the easier task of facing the D-Backs, who are in last place. The Dodgers have to deal with a Padres team that isn’t making the Wild Card, but has to play for something. The Dodgers have Walker Buehler and Max Scherzer at the top of the rotation heading into their series vs. the Pads. The Giants will have their top pitchers — Kevin Gausman and Anthony DeSclafani for the latter series in the week. That may help them stay atop the division and win the first overall seed.