MLB Postseason: Playoff Field Set, Indians to Host Game One of the ALDS

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Oct 2, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Cody Allen (37) celebrates with catcher Chris Gimenez (38) after defeating the Kansas City Royals 3-2 at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 2, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Cody Allen (37) celebrates with catcher Chris Gimenez (38) after defeating the Kansas City Royals 3-2 at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports /
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All of the pieces are in place for the MLB playoffs, including the first two games of the ALDS being hosted by the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field.

Purists be damned, the wild card races in MLB have made the game exciting, fun, and edge-of-your-seat viewing right down to the final day of the regular season. And with every game starting at the same time on Sunday, there were #HardcoreScoreboardWatchers tuned in across the country, including fans of the Cleveland Indians.

As you may have heard, everything broke the right way for the Tribe on the final day of the season, as losses by the Detroit Tigers and the Boston Red Sox made a makeup of Thursday’s postponed game in Motown unnecessary and delivered home-field advantage in the American League Division Series to Cleveland.

“That’s exactly what we wanted,” Jason Kipnis said in the visitor’s clubhouse in Kansas City where the team watched those games end in their favor.  “It looked like we could have a perfect day. We were joking about it, saying it was going to be a perfect day today. It turned out to be that way. It’s awesome.”

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Game one on Thursday night from the corner of Carnegie and Ontario will be broadcast live on TBS. The start time will be announced by MLB after the wild card game.

The Tigers’ loss eliminated them from the AL Wild Card race, and Boston’s loss to Toronto gave the Blue Jays home-field advantage for Tuesday’s wild card game with the Baltimore Orioles. The winner of that matchup of division rivals will then travel to Arlington for game one of the other division series with the Texas Rangers on Thursday.

The Jays and O’s will get underway from the Rogers Centre at 8:08 p.m. ET, and the game will be broadcast on TBS.

In the National League, the San Francisco Giants beat the Los Angeles Dodgers to claim the second wild card spot, eliminating the St. Louis Cardinals and setting up a showdown with the New York Mets at Citi Field on Wednesday.

First pitch of that game is also scheduled for 8:08 p.m. ET, and will air live on ESPN.

The Giant-Mets winner will get the unique privilege of squaring off with the best team in MLB in 2016, the Chicago Cubs, in an NLDS that will begin on Friday at Wrigley Field. The other division series on the senior circuit will pit the Washington Nationals against the Dodgers in our nation’s capital.

A six-month marathon of a season felt like a 100 meter sprint on Sunday, with so many scenarios and implications in play, and served as a preview of the fun to come in October.

“You get to the last weekend of the year,” Indians manager Terry Francona said, “and sometimes you see teams sort of taper off. I was really proud of our guys. They keep playing. Nobody asked for a day off. All the pitchers wanted to pitch. And I think that’ll help us moving forward.”

Next: How the Tribe’s ALDS Starting Rotation Shapes Up

Cleveland will be hosting its first playoff game since 2013’s wild card defeat at the hands of the Tampa Bay Rays. The franchise has the second-longest championship drought in MLB behind only the Cubs, with the last World Series title coming in 1948.

(The entire postseason schedule can be found on MLB.com.)

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