Bring on the postseason!!!

By John Schlegel
Updated: October 3, 2010

NEW YORK — It took until the final day, and in grand-finale fashion the 2010 postseason matchups are set — with a good dose of lovely chaos down to the final hours.

The American League playoffs became official Sunday afternoon when the Yankees dropped their finale to the Red Sox, thereby pushing the defending World Series champions into the Wild Card spot, with the Rays winning the AL East.

That means Wednesday’s openers of the AL Division Series will have the Rays hosting the AL West champion Rangers at 1:37 p.m. ET and the AL Central champion Twins playing their first playoff game at Target Field at 8:37 p.m. against the Yankees, seeking their 28th World Series title.

The National League was set a few hours later, after the Giants ended the Padres’ run with a 3-0 victory. San Francisco won the NL West and, in the process, eliminated San Diego, which found itself in a win-or-go-home scenario after the Braves beat the Phillies earlier in the day.

Going into the day, there were four scenarios in play for the National League. Now, the Division Series schedules are set.

The Phillies had the best record in the National League this season at 97-65, and the NL top seed was given the opportunity to pick between the eight-day and seven-day Division Series — they chose the eight-day series that begins Wednesday.

That means they will open their attempt at becoming the first team to win National League pennants in three consecutive years since the 1944 Cardinals by hosting the Reds on Wednesday at 5:07 p.m..

The Giants, as the NL West champ, and the Braves, as the Wild Card entrant, will meet in the other NLDS, beginning Thursday at 9:37 p.m. at AT&T Park.

The American League determined its October invitations earlier in the week, but it took until the final outs Sunday to figure out who would be playing whom.

Once the Yankees lost, however, that determined the setup because the Rays won the season series over the Yankees, 10-8, and with both teams having earned a playoff spot, it didn’t matter whether the Rays wound up tied with the Yankees or ahead of them by a game.