The Dodgers were on pace to match or break the all-time single-season wins record earlier this year, and now, well, they aren’t. The Indians started out the year looking like a .500 team, but a dominant summer and 22-game win streak later, well, they’re right behind the Dodgers in the standings. Normally you don’t think of an AL team and NL team competing in the standings, but 2017 is different, as World Series home-field advantage is determined by regular season record.
The Dodgers are 99-57, Cleveland 98-58: just one game separates the records of the two with seven days to go in the regular season, and whichever finishes on top has dibs on home-field in the Fall Classic. “Dibs,” because it’s a bit of a shifting title. The NL doesn’t get home-field in the final round of the postseason if the Dodgers finish with MLB’s best record but lose in the NLCS: whichever team has the better record come World Series time is going to be have home-field.
So, the Astros rank behind the Indians as of Monday morning, but are ahead of the Nationals, Red Sox, Cubs, and every wild card team. The Red Sox are only ahead of the Cubs and the wild card teams. The Cubs are only one game up on the wild card-leading Yankees, so they should probably think about winning as many games as possible during the season’s final week. Or don’t, it’s your season, do with it what you wish.
As Grant Brisbee pointed out earlier this month, World Series home-field advantage makes sense now. And it has given teams incentive to keep playing at 100 percent during the final week of the season, even if they’ve already clinched a postseason spot, as seven of the eventual 10 teams have. All eyes will be on Cleveland and Los Angeles as they vie for MLB’s best record in 2017 and the trump card it would represent in the World Series, but the teams behind them need to keep things going, too. Just in case they end up stopping the Indians or Dodgers in their tracks in a couple of weeks.
- Albert Pujols is the slowest baserunner in the game these days, and the Astros’ infield defense is fully aware of that, plus where he’s going to hit a ground ball. Time comes for us all.
- A’s rookie Bruce Maxwell became the first MLB player to kneel during the national anthem.
- We’ll probably start to see more baseball players kneeling, so it’s important that you read what Zito Madu has to say about the NFL obscuring the original intent of Colin Kaepernick’s protests with one word.
- Here’s what you have to look forward to being figured out with this final week of 2017 MLB games.
- And here’s where the postseason races stand right now. Congratulations to all the teams on the edge: no one is in a position to be eliminated on Monday.
- The D-Backs clinched the top wild card spot. as they won the season series with the Rockies and therefore will host them even if the two teams end up tying.
- Brandon Crawford fell down trying to bunt against Clayton Kershaw and there’s probably a metaphor for the Giants’ entire 2017 in there.
- Yankees’ fans expect to be victims of the wild cards’ quirks.
- The Braves’ GM believes the 2018 team is going to be younger than the 2017 edition.
- The Tigers might have a Victor Martinez problem, but it’s not the one you’re thinking of.
- Jose Bautista played his final home game of the 2017 season, and maybe ever.
- I’m 100 percent here for taking baseball teams away from people who have zero qualifications for running a team outside of being rich.