The baseball season enters its final weekend with nine of the 10 playoffs teams known. But there's plenty left to be settled over three days - or maybe longer.
Little changed Thursday as all three American League wild-card contenders won but the race for best record in the National League lost a participant.
•Tampa Bay, Cleveland and Texas remain alive for the American League's two wild card spots. Tampa Bay is one game ahead of Cleveland, which is one game ahead of Texas. Tampa Bay's final three games are at Toronto, Cleveland's at Minnesota and Texas' at home against the Los Angeles Angels.
•If two teams tie for the two wild-card spots, head-to-head results during the season will determine home advantage for the wild-card game. Tampa Bay has the edge over Cleveland, Cleveland over Texas and Texas over Tampa Bay.
•Head-to-head also would determine the site of a playoff Monday if two teams tie for the second spot.
•If Tampa Bay, Cleveland and Texas finish with identical records, Cleveland could choose to be Team A, B or C for a three-team playoff because it had the best record in games among the three teams. Team A would host Team B Monday with the winner getting one wild-card spot. The loser would visit Team C on Tuesday for the other spot. After Cleveland selects, Tampa Bay would get second choice of team designation.
• Boston leads Oakland by two games for the AL's best record. Because they split their six games this year, if they finished tied home advantage for all AL series would be determined by the better intra-division record. Boston has a one-game edge there and visits division rival Baltimore this weekend. Oakland meets division rival Seattle.
•St. Louis needs one win or a Pittsburgh loss to clinch the National League Central. The Cardinals are at home against the Chicago Cubs.
•If the Cardinals and Pirates tie for first, the division would be decided by a game Monday in Pittsburgh.
•Pittsburgh leads Cincinnati by one game in the NL wild-card race. Both are in the playoffs but the site of Tuesday's wild-card game will be determined by their three head-to-head games this weekend. Cincinnati must win at least two to get home field.
•Best record will be determined this weekend. Atlanta and St. Louis are tied and Atlanta has the edge if it remains that way, based on regular-season meetings. The Braves' remaining games are at home against Philadelphia.
•Los Angeles fell out of contention for best record with a Thursday loss at San Francisco. The Dodgers still have a long-shot chance at second-best record, but that would require winning all three home games against San Diego while St. Louis loses its final three and Atlanta claims the top spot with at least one victory.
Paul White, USA TODAY Sports