The regular season is over for 26 of the 30 MLB teams. This obviously includes the Orioles, who were the losingest losers to ever lose this season. Four teams still have to settle business, though, to determine who wins the NL Central and who wins the NL West and who has to get kicked into the wild card game instead. 162 games were not enough to answer the question, so here we are playing 163.
First up are the Cubs and the Brewers. The winner of this game is the Central champion. The loser will host the wild card game tomorrow. Quick turnaround! The Cubs, 51-30 at home this year, turn to Jose Quintana, who posted a 4.09 ERA across the rest of the regular season, while the Brewers, 44-37 outside of Miller Field, will send Jhoulys Chacin, owner of a 3.56 ERA, to start against the North Siders.
The Brewers lineup includes former Oriole Jonathan Schoop starting at second base and batting fifth. Maybe he will do something cool today. I’m rooting for him.
Later in the afternoon, the Dodgers and Rockies will play their own one game for all the NL West marbles. This game will begin at about 4 o’clock Eastern - possibly overlapping with the Cubs-Brewers game that begins at 1, possibly not. Both games will air on ESPN, so if you are looking for them, that’s where you will find them.
As of this writing, those lineups aren’t set, though the starting pitchers are. For the Rockies, 23-year-old German Marquez draws the assignment. He led the Rockies staff with 221 strikeouts in 191.1 innings pitched this year.
The Dodgers starter is 24-year-old Walker Buehler, whom you may have once unreasonably hoped the Orioles could demand in a Manny Machado trade. Alas, the Dodgers deemed him untouchable, and with Buehler posting a 2.93 ERA in 23 games this year, no surprise why that was.
Although Machado is on the Dodgers, I think it would be hilarious if those same Dodgers are relegated to the wild card game after being such prohibitive division favorites for most of the year. We’ll see what happens. This should be a fun afternoon of baseball no matter who wins and who loses.