- Associated Press - Monday, October 1, 2012

The Texas Rangers are totally set for the playoffs, eager to break out the bats, balls and gloves for really big games.

Maybe they should log on to MapQuest, Hotels.com and Travelocity, too.

Because with three days left on the schedule, the postseason picture is still impossibly scrambled. An October free-for-fall, with not a single team yet certain of when, who and where it will play later this week.

“If you had asked me before the season started, I would have expected that something would have been settled,” New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Sunday. “It’s really hard to believe and I think it’s what baseball was kind of looking for. They love to see these races. It’s good for the game.”

Not easy on the stomach, though.

Take the two-time American League champion Rangers. They could open Friday at Yankee Stadium in a one-game showdown of wild cards. Or Saturday at Detroit in the best-of-five division series. Or even Sunday at Baltimore.

Or perhaps play at home in this jumbled matrix.

“Listen, it’s a logistical headache in some regards just because there’s so many possibilities,” Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said.

“It’s not fun to be an advance scout or a traveling secretary right now,” he said. “But from the standpoint of the game, and the fans, I think it’s great theater and it’s a lot of fun.”

To Kevin Buck, that’s fine. He is the Orioles’ traveling secretary, and likes the idea of mapping out Baltimore’s first playoff game since 1997.

“Right now it’s just a fantastic problem to have,” he said.

“We take care of pretty much every single scenario we can have. We make sure the hotels, the buses, the truck companies that haul our equipment, the chartered planes, are ready to go. Cities contacted _ every city that’s still in the mix. New York, Oakland, LA, Tampa Bay, Chicago, Detroit. Everything’s ready to go,” he said.

Several hours after he spoke Sunday, there indeed was another challenge. The Orioles’ charter to St. Petersburg, Fla., was diverted to Jacksonville after there was smoke in the forward galley. Later that night, the Orioles completed their journey.

This season, seven of the playoff spots already have been filled. Texas took care of three clubs Sunday _ its win over the Angels assured the Rangers, Orioles and Yankees of postseason slots.

The only in-or-out race is in the AL Central, where Detroit has a magic number of one for eliminating the Chicago White Sox. Not so clear is which clubs will be division champs and which will be wild cards.

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