After a dramatic finish to the regular season that included a no-hitter on the final day and a tie that will force a special elimination game Monday night, Major League Baseball is set to start its playoffs.
There's also news from the seamier side of the sport: New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez on Monday begins his formal appeal of the 211-game suspension he faces for violating the league's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
According to MLB.com, "arbitrator Fredric Horowitz will be tasked with answering two deceptively simple questions: Did Rodriguez break baseball's rules by using PEDs? And, if so, is MLB's punishment appropriate?"
But let's get back to the game itself.
The Miami Marlins' Henderson Alvarez threw a no-hitter Sunday that was remarkable not just for the fact that he blanked the Detroit Tigers, but for the way the game finished. With the score tied 0-0 and Miami batting in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Tigers' Luke Putkonen threw a wild pitch that allowed the Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton to score from third base. Game over. The Marlins won 1-0, and Alvarez had his first no-hitter.
Meanwhile, as the Cleveland Indians clinched one of the American League's two "wild card" playoff spots Sunday, the Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers were ending up in a tie for that second wild card spot. So, they play an elimination game Monday night in Arlington, Texas, (8 p.m. ET on TBS) for the right to then go to Cleveland for the AL's wild card game on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET on TBS).
The National League's wild-card playoff game is Tuesday night in Pittsburgh between the hometown Pirates and the Cincinnati Reds (also at 8 p.m. ET on TBS).
The full post-season schedule is here. The other teams that made it to post-season play are:
-- Boston Red Sox
-- Detroit Tigers
-- Oakland A's
-- Atlanta Braves
-- Los Angeles Dodgers
-- St. Louis Cardinals
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