Friday, September 20, 2013
A look inside the wild-card race
By Todd Wills
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The American League wild-card race gets tighter and tighter, with six teams separated by only 3.5 games.
Headlining this weekend's series is Texas versus the Kansas City Royals and Tampa Bay Rays versus the Baltimore Orioles.
Here's how the weekend sets up for all of the contenders:
Rangers (83-66, .546, 2nd in AL West, 6.5 GB; tied for wild-card lead with Tampa Bay)
Next up: Friday-Sunday at Kansas City, Kauffman Stadium
Opponents' record: The Royals are 82-70, three games out of the wild card
The latest: The Rangers hit seven home runs in two wins at Tampa Bay, including a pair from shortstop Elvis Andrus to give him four for the season.
Forecast: Texas will sneak out two wins in this three-game series as the AL's two best bullpens square off against each other.
Athletics (90-63, .588, 1st Place in AL West)
Next up: Friday-Sunday vs. Minnesota Twins, O.co Coliseum
Opponents' record: The Twins are 65-86, 23 games back in AL Central
The latest: Coco Crisp did it again, hitting a two-run home run to snap a tie in Oakland's 8-6 victory over the Twins on Thursday.
Forecast: Oakland has already taken the first game in the four-game series. The A's will win two out of three to move within a win or a Texas loss of the AL West crown.
Rays (83-69, .547, tied for wild-card lead with Texas)
Next up: Friday-Monday vs. Baltimore, Tropicana Field
Opponents' record: The Orioles are 81-71, two games back in the wild-card race
The latest: The Rays' starting rotation might be tiring. Rookie Chris Archer is getting close to an innings limit, and Matt Moore allowed three home runs on Thursday night in a loss to the Rangers.
Forecast: In a very tight series, much like the Rangers-Rays series this week, Tampa Bay and Baltimore will split a four-game series.
Indians (83-70, .542, half-game back in wild-card race)
Next up: Friday-Sunday vs. Houston Astros
Opponents' record: The Astros are 51-102 and out of contention
The latest: Cleveland pulled out a win in 11 innings on Thursday night against Houston.
Forecast: The Astros will win one of the three games the rest of the series, but the Indians continue to be a dangerous team in the wild-card race.
Orioles (81-71, .533, two games back in wild-card race)
Next up: Friday-Monday at Tampa Bay, Tropicana Field
Opponents' record: The Rays are 83-69, tied for the AL wild-card lead
The latest: First baseman Chris Davis continues his tremendous season with 51 home runs.
Forecast: See above. The Orioles and Rays will split the four-game series.
Yankees (80-73, .523, 3.5 games back in wild-card race)
Next up: Friday-Sunday vs. San Francisco Giants, Yankee Stadium
Opponents' record: The Giants are 71-82 and not in contention
The latest: The Yankees' playoff hopes took a big blow when they lost two out of three games to the last-place Blue Jays this week.
Forecast: The Bronx Bombers will win two out of three against the Giants but they probably need a sweep to stay in the playoff race.
Royals (80-72, .526, three games back in wild-card race)
Next up: Friday-Sunday vs. Rangers, Kauffman Stadium
Opponents' record: The Rangers are 83-69 and tied for the AL wild-card lead
The latest: The Royals had an off day Thursday after winning two out of three games from the Indians.
Forecast: See above. The Royals will lose two out of three to Texas.