The Boston Red Sox head into the final Sunday of the 2021 MLB regular season in control of their own destiny — if you can ever actually control destiny. They are tied with the New York Yankees atop the wild card standings and both teams sit one game up on the Seattle Mariners and Toronto Blue Jays.
On this final day of the season, the Red Sox path to the playoffs is simply. If they beat the Washington Nationals, they will clinch the top wild card berth and home field in the Tuesday Wild Card game.
If the Red Sox lose, there are eight scenarios in which they can still make the playoffs. No matter what, Boston is guaranteed at least a tiebreaker game on Monday. If all four teams lose on Sunday, Boston claims the top wild card berth. If the Blue Jays and Mariners both lose, but the Yankees win, Boston clinches the No. 2 wild card.
Where it starts to get nutty with a Red Sox loss is if the Blue Jays and/or Mariners win on Sunday and the Yankees potentially lose. A Blue Jays win moves them into a playoff. A Mariners win moves them into a playoff. A Yankees loss coupled with Toronto and/or Seattle winning creates a three- or four-team playoff.
Here’s a full rundown of the potential craziness we have in store on Sunday.
There are 16 permutations for Game 162 in the AL wild card race. @WesleyJ_14 put together this handy primer for all of it. Bravo to him. Let this be your guide for Sunday.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) October 3, 2021
Every game starts just after 3 p.m. ET. Buckle up. pic.twitter.com/lR18NHd6mJ