Remember when everyone thought the various postseason runs were almost all set? May this serve to remind us once again that the season is long for a reason: so that there is enough time for all kinds of crazy things to happen. The battle for the AL Wild Cards is a true pandemonium. We do not know who will advance, we do not know who will receive whom, and we have no idea what will happen.
There are 10 potential matchups for the American League Wild Card Game, which bring up all kinds of possible rivalries. Which of these possible duels would be the most fun? The one with the most intensity? The dumbest?
Here are the 10 possible games of the AL Wild Card Game, ranked.
1) Red Sox-Yankees
The obvious number 1. Memories of Bucky Dent, Aaron Boone and Alex Rodriguez knocking the ball down on first base would dominate the playoff of a game between these two teams. It doesn’t matter where the game is played, but I must confess that doing it at Fenway Park on a Tuesday night in October is cinematically appropriate. The 2018 SDLA, the only postseason game between the two clubs since that epic 2004 SCLA, was no big deal. A life and death match between these these teams, particularly if they meet Chris Sale and Gerrit Cole, would be a must.
What a tremendous story that would be for long-suffering Mariners fans who, on their first postseason trip in 20 years, faced the Yankees, the franchise that denied the team that won 116 games in the World Series title. 2001. It might seem cruel to cross paths with the Yankees again, but if Seattle is going to erase 20 years of pain, you can’t dodge the wall: You have to walk through it. This would be the best duel between the Empire and the Rebels one could imagine.
3) Yankees-Blue Jays
When the Blue Jays signed George Springer in the offseason, the central idea was that they were going to go all out for the Yankees. Well, they could do it here … in the Wild Card Game. (Those Rays always ruin everything). The Blue Jays have built part of their comeback this season with dramatic victories against the Yankees. And while this would likely be an owner between Robbie Ray and Gerrit Cole, the idea of these two head-to-head offenses is very palatable. One is left with the idea that there is no rival these young Blue Jays would prefer more. Obviously, they want to make it clear that there is a changing of the guard in the East.
4) Sailors-Blue Jays
Just seeing two uniforms so pleasing to the eye would be a pleasure. But more than anything, this would be the kind of generation change that fans love so much: Two young and exciting teams that have had extremely fun seasons and are trying to lay the foundations for the future. Of all the clashes on this list, this is the only one in which there is no clear villain or favorite.
5) Red Sox-Blue Jays
For all the times these teams have met, and despite the good ninth they have had, they have never met in the postseason. There’s quite a bit of fire in this divisional rivalry, including an incident last month between Hansel Robles and the Blue Jays bench. (The Toronto boys didn’t seem very intimidated.) The Blue Jays are eager to show they can dominate the division for the next half decade; eliminating the Red Sox would be a great way to start.
It would be the rematch of the 2018 Wild Card Game, which the Yankees won when they were a younger and more exciting team. The Yankees have beaten Oakland several times in the postseason, eliminating them in 2000 and 2001 (and 1981, if we want to go further back) and this is probably the game New York would like the most.
Among divisional rivalries, this isn’t necessarily the hottest. They’ve never played in the postseason and the only time they fought hard for the division was in 2000 and 2002. Yet this is a fascinating experiment: Would you rather be the Athletics, who are constantly in the postseason but have suffered over and over again? time to get there (have they been to the playoffs 11 times this century and made it to the SCLA only once, where they were swept), or the Mariners, who haven’t made it to October since 2001?
8) Red Sox-Athletics
The Athletics lost to the Red Sox in the 2003 ALDS, the year after the Moneyball season. And these teams, of course, have shared all kinds of management personnel for the past two decades. (The drama of Billy Beane taking on the team he didn’t want to leave, only to see them win the World Series four times while he won zero, is sublime enough.)
9) Blue Jays-Athletic
If you want to point to when things started to go well for the Blue Jays and bad for the Athletics, that sweep of Toronto on Labor Day weekend is a good place to start. This would be a good rematch of that 1992 SCLA. I wish we could see Joe Carter, Dave Winfield, Harold Baines, Dennis Eckersley, Rickey Henderson and Mark McGwire in the stadium as guests.
10) Red Sox-Mariners
The team that has been to the postseason 10 times since 2001 and won the World Series four times, against the club that… has achieved none of that. Anecdotally, if the Mariners play at Fenway, they will be visiting the stadium where they once played – with Randy Johnson and Alex Rodriguez in their ranks – as a home club team on July 22, 1994 because the Seattle Kingdome was not there. available.