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The AL Wild Card Race is TIGHT

The Toronto Blue Jays have heated up at the right time. After looking like the little brother to the Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays for most of the season, the team has gone 9-1 in their last 10 games and are now officially on top of the AL Wild Card standings:

With 18 games left for the Yankees and Blue Jays and 16 for the Red Sox (as well as 18 for the Mariners and 17 for the Athletics), things are certainly coming down to the wire. Let’s quickly breakdown each of the five teams in contention for the two spots and attempt to predict who will be entering the one game playoff in October.

Toronto Blue Jays

Current: 81-63, +1 GB in the Wild Card. 18 games left, 3 vs. wild card contenders.

The Blue Jays have an overall easy schedule, as while 8 games are against the Rays or Yankees, 10 are against the lowly Orioles and Twins. Considering how they’re playing down the stretch and especially considering how they’ve handled the Orioles and Rays recently, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they continue to stay as on fire as they’ve been and cruise into the top AL Wild Card spot (as much as it pains me to say).

New York Yankees

Current: 80-64, 0 GB in the Wild Card. 18 games left, 6 vs wild card contenders

The Yankees will have to go through a gauntlet at the end of the season, traveling to Toronto and Boston before hosting the Rays at home. Before that, though, they’ll be hoping to beat up on the Orioles, Indians (who are just outside of the playoff picture), and Rangers. Considering they’re 2-8 in their last 10, though, I’m not sure if they’ll be able to get enough wins from the first half of their games to be confident in their being able to secure a spot before the second half. Ultimately, Yankees fans should be praying for the Red Sox or Blue Jays to bottom out before they play each other.

Boston Red Sox

Current: 81-65, 0 GB in the Wild Card. 16 games left, 5 vs wild card contenders

In the midst of their series with the Mariners, the Red Sox are currently reeling after losing series to both the Rays and White Sox. They have to win the remaining two with the M’s if they hope to gain any momentum. They face the Orioles twice, both New York teams, and the Nationals before their seasons ends, so there are plenty of winnable games on the horizon, but the team has been scuffling. Covid issues haven’t helped, but they can overcome.

Seattle Mariners

Current: 78-66, 2 GB in the Wild Card. 18 games left, 9 vs wild card contenders

The Mariners seem to have the most impactful schedule, as they still have 9 games remaining with AL wild card contending teams (2 vs. the Red Sox and 7 vs. the Athletics). With 6 against the Angels and 3 versus the Royals rounding out their schedule, they have the ability to play spoiler in either direction. Either they drop a bunch to the Red Sox and As allowing them to jump up in the standings, or they beat down these teams and allow the Blue Jays and Yankees to stay on top. The next two games could be a good indicator of which type of spoiler they’re going to be.

Oakland Athletics

Current: 77-66, 2.5 GB in the Wild Card. 19 games left, 7 vs wild card contenders

As I said before with the Mariners, the Athletics could be a spoiler depending on how their 7 games with Seattle go. However, the A’s also have 6 games with the lead team in the AL West, the Houston Astros. As it stands, they may have the most difficult road to securing an AL Wild Card spot, especially as they’re the furthest team back of the contenders. They’re not out of it yet, but things are already not looking great for them.

Featured Image Source: sportsnet.ca

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Pat Shuman (@PShu1996 on Twitter) Check out my other articles here!

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