It was a day of fireworks and drama, of teams pushed to the brink of elimination and clawing their way back to terra firma. After the dust settled, after 21 dingers and 61 runners crossing home plate, we were left with six teams facing do-or-die situations, six teams with a chance to advance to the next round and a feeling like we might not see a day of playoff baseball as exciting as the one we just witnessed for some time.
Among the teams both facing elimination and with a chance to advance are the Toronto Blue Jays, who have momentarily regained their original position as World Series favorites. Trailing the Jays are the Houston Astros, with the Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals looking to spoil their fun and claim their own October glory. And let us not forget the Chicago Cubs and the New York Metropolitans, each just one game away from advancing to the NLCS for the first time this decade having slammed their way through the St. Louis Cardinals' and Los Angeles Dodgers' batteries.
At 3:1, the Blue Jays have returned to the top of the World Series probability leaderboard, assuming a position they last occupied on October 7th, prior to the start of Division Series play. The Cubs, up 2-1 on the Cards, are the second most likely to take home the Commissioner's Trophy, a position they too last occupied on 10/7. Plummeting from the top spot are the Houston Astros, thanks to the Royals late rally in yesterday's contest.
Facing potential elimination this afternoon in Wrigleyville, the Cardinals are long 4:1 underdogs to advance to the NLCS. The Cubs enjoy better-than-even odds to end their division rivals' run today, and would still be slightly favored should they need to win one in St. Louis.
The Mets find themselves in a similar position as the Cubs, enjoying better-than-even odds to finish off the Dodgers this evening. That said, RPScore still considers the Dodgers the better team. If the Mets should fail to end the Dodgers' season in Flushing, they'll face an uphill battle in Los Angeles to reach the NLCS for the first time since 2006.
As I noted yesterday, the Royals and Astros are basically even to advance to the ALCS, while the Blue Jays are big favorites over the Rangers. Why the disparity? RPScore really, really doesn't like the Rangers and really, really likes the Blue Jays.
Through seven innings in Houston, it looked like an I-45 NLCS was a strong possibility, with the Rangers one game away from advancing and the Astros mere outs from putting away the Royals for good. Today, with the Blue Jays likely to advance and the Royals just as likely to advance as not, the chances of a Lone Star State series have plummeted from 51% to 18%.
Will the Mets and Cubs finish what they started? Will the Cards or Dodgers earn a two-day reprieve? What will the LCS and World Series odds look like in either case? Stay tuned to find out.