LEADING OFF: Who’s in? Final day scramble for AL wild cards

National Sports

Boston Red Sox’s Enrique Hernandez (5) celebrates his two-run home run with Bobby Dalbec, second from right, and Travis Shaw (23) during the ninth inning of a baseball game Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021, in Washington. Washington Nationals catcher Keibert Ruiz is at from left. The Red Sox won 5-3.(AP Photo/Nick Wass)

A look at what’s happening around the majors on Sunday:

WILD FINISH

Red Sox ace Chris Sale takes the mound in Washington with a chance to pitch Boston into the postseason. A win would ensure the Red Sox host Tuesday’s AL wild-card game — they own a tiebreaker with the Yankees after winning the season series 10-9 — but Boston is still assured at least a tiebreaker game Monday with a loss to the last-place Nationals.

Aaron Judge and the Yankees are tied with Boston for the top AL wild card and can also clinch a spot by beating 100-win Tampa Bay. If the Yankees win and the Red Sox lose, the wild-card game would come to the Bronx on Tuesday. New York is also assured at least another game Monday if it loses.

The Blue Jays and Mariners each need to win and get help. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and homer-happy Toronto is a game behind Boston and New York entering its finale against Baltimore and can force a tiebreaker game Monday with a win over the O’s and a loss by either the Red Sox or Yankees.

Seattle was 1 ½ games back entering its game late Saturday against the Los Angeles Angels.

Any two-way tie for the second wild card would be settled by a one-game tiebreaker Monday. A three- or four-way tie gets more complicated.

-In the event of a three-way tie for the two wild cards, two of the teams (dubbed Clubs A and B) will play a one-game playoff Monday, with the winner advancing to the wild-card game and the loser forced on the road to face Club C. The winner of that game gets the other wild card. Teams get to pick whether to be Club A, B or C in this scenario based on head-to-head outcomes this year.

-If there’s a three-way tie for the second wild-card spot, Clubs A and B play a win-or-go-home game Monday, and the winner plays another do-or-die game the next day against Club C for entry into the actual wild-card game.

-A four-way tie would result in a pair of Game 163s on Monday, with two teams advancing to Tuesday’s wild-card game.

KERSHAW OUT

Longtime Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw is out again because of an issue with his left forearm, likely sidelining him for the rest of the year.

The 33-year-old Kershaw earned his first World Series ring last season and hoped to help the playoff-bond Dodgers defend their title this October. But a day after he exited after only 1 2/3 innings, he was put on the injured list.

Asked if Kershaw will pitch again this season, manager Dave Roberts said, “I don’t think so. There’s always a chance, but right now where we’re at, we’re going to proceed with that mindset.”

The three-time Cy Young Award winner missed 57 games from Aug. 9 to Sept. 13 because of a forearm injury.

FINAL TIME

Cleveland plays for the last time as the Indians, the team’s name since 1915 when Shoeless Joe Jackson roamed their outfield.

The club will be called the Guardians next season. The team announced the name change earlier this year in the wake of a nationwide reckoning over racist names and symbols.

José Ramírez and his teammates will play at Texas in the regular-season finale.

ROCKIE TOP

Colorado has decided to make Bill Schmidt its permanent general manager after he took over the job on an interim bases in May.

“After five months, it became increasingly clear that Bill was the right person to lead this franchise forward,” Rockies president and chief operating officer Greg Feasel said. “He came into a challenging situation and quickly impacted the play on and off the field.”

The Rockies began the year in turmoil, having traded franchise star Nolan Arenado to St. Louis in the offseason, and were 9-17 after April. Schmidt was named interim GM when Jeff Bridich resigned.

Colorado hasn’t had a losing month since May and is .500 since the All-Star break. While still a distant fourth in the NL West, they are only 3 1/2 games behind the once-contending San Diego Padres in the division.

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