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How the Blue Jays can make the playoffs: Wild-card tiebreakers, scenarios –



TORONTO – The scenarios for the American League wild card remain wild heading into the final weekend and the Toronto Blue Jays still have realistic pathways to the post-season, even after losing two of three to the New York Yankees.

To get there, though, they’re going to need some help, as even a sweep of the Baltimore Orioles won’t be enough on its own. The Yankees, at 91-68, are the closest to securing a berth, holding a two-game lead for the first wild card over the Boston Red Sox and Seattle Mariners, who are tied for the second spot at 89-70, with the Blue Jays a game behind them at 88-71.

Boston closes out at the Washington Nationals while Seattle hosts the Los Angeles Angels, so those should be the primary out-of-town focuses for Blue Jays fans this weekend. The Yankees, meanwhile, will hope to clinch against the AL East champion Tampa Bay Rays, although they can still miss the playoffs, too.

Here’s what the scenarios look like.

Four-team tie for two wild card spots

This is still possible and, strangely, is actually a good outcome for the Blue Jays if they can’t win a wild card spot outright. For it to happen, the Blue Jays would need to win out, the Yankees would need to lose out, and the Red Sox and Mariners would each need to go 2-1 to finish up 91-71.

The teams’ winning percentage against one another is the first tiebreaker and the Red Sox, at .533, would get first choice of the Team A, B, C or D designation, followed by the Blue Jays at .500 (22-22), the Yankees at .489 (22-23) and the Mariners at .450 (9-11). Team A would then host Team B in one tiebreaker with Team C hosting Team D in the other, with the winners then meeting in the wild card.

The Red Sox, presumably, would host one game as Team A, the Blue Jays the other as Team C and then the Yankees would be left with the intriguing choice of who to play.

Cumulative records for wild card contenders against one another, along with head-to-head records

Three-team tie for two wild card spots

This can happen a few different ways, both with or without the Blue Jays. If the Yankees go 1-2 while the Red Sox and Mariners go 3-0, they’d all finish 92-70; If the Yankees go 0-3, the Red Sox and Mariners go 2-1 while the Blue Jays go 2-1 or worse, the first thee would all finish 91-71; If the Blue Jays go 3-0, the Yankees go 0-3 and one of the Red Sox or Mariners goes 2-1 and the other does no better than 1-2, the first three would all finish 91-71.

In this scenario, a team’s head-to-head against the others would be weighed first and the club with the best mark selecting to be either Team A, B or C. Next, the club with the better head-to-head mark chooses second. Team A would then host Team B, with the winner advancing to the wild card game and the loser going to play Team C in the second tiebreaker.

The intriguing call is made by the second-place team, choosing between two shots on the road or one at home. Boston, having won the season series against each of the others, is best positioned for this.

Three-team tie for the second wild card spot

This is a more likely tiebreaker to occur, potentially set up by the Blue Jays going 3-0 while the Mariners and Red Sox each go 2-1 to all finish 91-71, although any three of the four clubs could end up in this situation. In this case, the same three-team tiebreak formula as above is used to decide the designation selection order, with Team A hosting Team B, and the winner of that game then hosting Team C to determine the wild card.

Blue Jays win first wild card outright

This is also still in play, incredibly, if the Blue Jays win out, the Yankees lose out and the Mariners and Red Sox go no better than 1-2. In that case, home-field in the wild card game would be determined by season series and the Blue Jays hold the tiebreaker over the Yankees.

Blue Jays win second wild card outright

For this to happen, the Yankees would need to go at least 1-2, the Blue Jays would need to sweep the Orioles while the Mariners and Red Sox could go no better than 1-2. The Blue Jays would then visit New York for the wild card game under this scenario.

Two-team tie for the second wild card

This can happen in several ways, with head-to-head records deciding who hosts a Game 163 and the winner advancing to the wild-card game.

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Astros' Garcia to start Game 6 of ALCS against Red Sox –



HOUSTON – Rookie Luis Garcia will start for the Houston Astros against the Boston Red Sox in Game 6 of the AL Championship Series on Friday night with a trip to the World Series on the line.

Garcia started Game 2 and gave up a grand slam in the first inning before leaving with no outs in the second because of discomfort in his right knee. Manager Dusty Baker announced Thursday that Garcia would get the ball for Game 6 and said the Astros are confident the problem is behind Garcia and he’ll be 100% healthy for Friday’s start.

The Astros fell behind 2-1 in the series after two big wins by the Red Sox. But they rode their powerful offence to consecutive victories in the last two games to take the series lead and move within a win of advancing to the World Series for the second time in three seasons.

The Astros won the championship in 2017, a crown tainted by the team’s sign-stealing scandal, before losing to the Washington Nationals in seven games in the 2019 World Series.

The Red Sox previously announced that Nathan Eovaldi would start Game 6. Eovaldi got the win in a solid Game 2 start but was charged with the loss in Game 4 after giving up the go-ahead runs after coming in with the game tied in the ninth.

The Astros got eight terrific innings from Framber Valdez in a 9-1 win in Game 5. The performance gave Houston’s taxed bullpen a much-needed break after relievers pitched 29 1/3 innings combined through the first four games.

Baker said Jake Odorizzi would be available for long relief Friday if needed. Odorizzi threw 82 pitches in four innings in Game 2 after taking over following the injury to Garcia.

Baker also said rookie center fielder Jake Meyers, who hasn’t played this series after injuring his shoulder in the final game of the ALDS, probably wouldn’t return to the lineup in this series. He said Meyers could pinch-run or pinch-hit but isn’t ready to return to the field. Fellow rookies Chas McCormick and rookie Jose Siri have filled in at center against the Red Sox.

Houston is without ace Lance McCullers Jr. for this series because of a flexor pronator muscle strain in his right arm. Baker said Thursday that McCullers still hasn’t resumed throwing, so it’s unclear if he would be available to return if the Astros were to advance.

If necessary, Game 7 would be Saturday night in Houston.

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NFL Prop Picks For Browns vs. Broncos: Bet This Donovan Peoples-Jones Over/Under On Thursday Night Football – The Action Network




Jason Miller/Getty Images. Pictured: Donovan Peoples-Jones #11 of the Cleveland Browns celebrates after a touchdown

Sean Koerner, our Director of Predictive Analytics, is highlighting his favorite player prop for every primetime game throughout the 2021 season. He has a 428-326-6 (56%) all-time record on NFL bets he’s tracked in the Action app.

Broncos-Browns Prop Bet

Donovan Peoples-Jones Under 2.5 Receptions

Editor’s Note: Now that Odell Beckham Jr. is officially active, Browns player props are off the board at most books.

Peoples-Jones has been on fire over the past two weeks, posting lines of 5/70/0 & 4/101/2 against the Chargers and Cardinals, respectively. However, I believe it’s time to “sell high” on him as he’s due for some regression.

He’s caught a ridiculous 86.7% of his targets this season despite seeing an aDot of 15.7. Players with an aDot that high typically average a catch rate in the 57-60% range.

There are a few other reasons why my projections are lower for him compared to the market:

  • Case Keenum is starting in place of Baker Mayfield tonight. Peoples-Jones has shown great chemistry with Mayfield over the past couple of games. The QB change seems like a setback for him.
  • Weather could be a factor tonight. Steady winds of approximately 20 mph are expected with the possibility of some occasional rain. That would (in theory) negatively impact a high-aDot player like Peoples-Jones.

  • Jarvis Landry is making his return from IR. He should be Keenum’s main target tonight, while the TE group should also see an increase in target share after a season-low five targets as a group last week. I also expect RB/WR Demetric Felton to have an expanded role tonight and he has been heavily targeted (37.5% of routes run) when on the field this season.

I’m projecting DPJ for 2.3 receptions tonight with a median projection of 31.5 receiving yards (market is currently at 38.5) — I’d give this under about a 60% chance of hitting. He’s the type of player who could clear his yardage prop on a couple of deep catches, so the safer play here is to take the under for his receptions, especially since we are getting + money. I would bet this down to -105.

Pick: Donovan Peoples-Jones Under 2.5 Receptions (+115) at BetMGM

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Canadiens fans welcome Kotkaniemi back to Montreal with boos, vulgar chant – Yahoo Canada Sports



Carolina Hurricanes forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi (82) was not welcomed back to Montreal with open arms. (Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports)

The Carolina Hurricanes were in Montreal on Thursday night to face the Canadiens at the Bell Centre, marking the return of Jesperi Kotkaniemi, who was at the centre of petty off-season drama after signing an offer sheet with the Canes.

In true hockey fashion, the Bell Centre crowd greeted the 21-year-old with boos and taunting chants.

The Canadiens acknowledged the former third-overall pick by displaying him on the jumbotron, which in turn sparked another wave of disapproval from the near-sellout crowd.

It was Kotkaniemi who got the last laugh, though, tipping in a goal in the third period for his first point with the Hurricanes — much to the delight of Hockey Twitter. Carolina ended up walking away with the 4-1 victory, keeping Montreal winless on the season.

The native of Pori, Finland appeared in 171 games for the Habs over three seasons, scoring 22 goals and notching 40 assists. He also registered 12 points in 29 playoff games, including five goals in Montreal’s run to the Stanley Cup Final last season.

Carolina tendered an offer sheet to Kotkaniemi in late August, offering a one-year contract at $6.1 million. Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin chose not to match, and Montreal received a first- and third-round pick as compensation.

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