The MLB playoffs are scheduled to begin this weekend, but tonight will have a postseason feel as two teams in each league — the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays in the American League, and the Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals in the National League — compete for wild card spots. ESPN and ESPN2 are prepared to cover all of the compelling action.
To help provide a clearer picture of the games you can expect to see when tuning into the networks this evening, the following lists the primary games by market: (Note: Under any scenario, both networks will provide frequent updates from the other meaningful games being played)
Most of the country: Boston/Baltimore at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN and ESPN3; Philadelphia/Atlanta at 7 p.m. on ESPN2 and ESPN3.
Boston/Baltimore markets: New York/Tampa Bay at 7 p.m. on ESPN, ESPN3 and ESPN Radio; Philadelphia/Atlanta at 7 p.m. on ESPN2 and ESPN3.
Philadelphia/Atlanta markets: Boston/Baltimore at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN and ESPN3; St. Louis/Houston at 8 p.m. on ESPN2.
Hartford market: St. Louis/Houston at 8 p.m. on ESPN; Philadelphia/Atlanta at 7 p.m. on ESPN2 and ESPN3.
Memphis market: Boston/Baltimore at 7 p.m. on ESPN and ESPN3; New York/Tampa Bay at 7 p.m. on ESPN2, ESPN3 and ESPN Radio.
Game commentators: Boston/Baltimore — Sean McDonough, Rick Sutcliffe, Aaron Boone; New York/Tampa Bay — Steve Berthiaume, John Kruk (Marc Kestecher, Peter Pascarelli on ESPN Radio); Philadelphia/Atlanta – Dave O’Brien, Nomar Garciaparra, Orel Hershiser; St. Louis/Houston – Mark Neely, Doug Glanville. Studio commentators during game telecasts: Karl Ravech, Bobby Valentine.
In the event all four wild-card contenders win — Boston, Tampa Bay, Atlanta and St. Louis — two postseason play-in games will be necessary on Thursday, Sept. 29 (both available on ESPN Radio).
That’s exactly how Baseball Tonight analyst John Kruk sees it (via his appearance on ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike in the Morning earlier today):
“I think we have two [play-in games], I really do. I think all four teams are going to win tonight [Tampa Baystarting pitcher] David Price is going to be dialed up tonight against the Yankees; Boston is going to beat the Orioles; and I think the Cardinals and Atlanta are both going to win and go on.”