The last day of the MLB regular season provided some drama and excitement. For starters, the Cleveland Indians locked up the top Wild Cards spot with a win against the Minnesota Twins. The Indians finished the season with a 10-game winning streak. The Tribe wrapped up the year with a 92-70 record and will host the Wild Card playoff game on Wednesday night. Who they face, though, remains to be seen.
That’s because both Tampa Bay and Texas are tied for the 2nd Wild Card. Both teams won on Sunday, giving them identical 91-71 records. Therefore, there will be a tiebreaker game played Monday evening in Texas. This isn’t a playoff game, but an additional regular season game being used to break the tie. Pitching in game #163 for the Rangers is rookie Martin Perez (10-5, 3.55 ERA, 1.34 WHiP.) He will matchup with the Rays ace, David Price (9-8, 3.39 ERA, 1.11 WHiP.) Price went on the DL in mid-May and missed 6 weeks, but has started to look more and more like pitcher who won the AL Cy Young last year.
The Rays/Rangers/Indians storyline wasn’t the only bit of excitement that occurred in the league on Sunday. In what was an extremely bright spot in an otherwise awful season, the Marlins’ Henderson Alvarez pitched a no-hitter against the AL Central champion Detroit Tigers. The right-hander, 23, needed only 99 pitched to get through 9 innings. However, after he finished the Tigers off in the top of the 9th, the score stood at 0-0, meaning that the Marlins needed to score in the bottom of the 9th to make the no-hitter official.
The Marlins did score, but in a way that was unique in baseball history. Miami won the game on a wild pitch, scoring Giancarlo Stanton from third, making this the first no-hitter in MLB history to end on a wild pitch. It was also the 4th no-hitter to be thrown on the final day of the regular season and the first since Mike Witt of the Angels threw a perfect game in 1984. The Tigers, having clinched the division a few days ago, played few regular players in the game. Nevertheless, I am sure that this is a memory that will last a lifetime for Alvarez.
There were some other accomplishments and achievements that occurred on Sunday. The St. Louis Cardinals finished with the best record in the NL and will have home-field advantage during the NL playoffs. The Angels’ Mike Trout finished the year as only the third player in MLB history to have 190 hits, 100 walks and 30 stolen bases in a season. The other two players were Lenny Dykstra in 1993 and Ty Cobb in 1915. Also, the Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera officially won his third consecutive AL batting title when he finished the year with a .348 average. He is the first player to win three straight AL titles since Wade Boggs won four in a row from 1985 to 1988.