Heading into the month of February, it was completely fair to say...
This Week in Baseball: AL Wild Card Race
The Wild Card race is in full effect and last week we took a look at the NL battle; this week it’s the AL’s turn for this week in baseball.
The players in this Wild Card race are the Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles, Detroit Tigers, and the Seattle Mariners. There is only 2 games separating these teams and there is still plenty of games to play. Additionally the Houston Astros and World Champion Kansas City Royals are far behind the these front runners; both are 3 games back. The extreme dark horse in this is the New York Yankees at 3.5 games back, but anything can happen in this game.
The AL East is dominating this race, with every team except the Tampa Bay Rays having playoff potential as of week 22 of the season. The Red Sox are currently at the top in the Wild Card race, but to pick a best between them, the Orioles, and Toronto Blue Jays (currently winning the division) is difficult. These teams have been trading around the top spot in the East for a few weeks. The chance that they will all make the playoffs is a real possibility with the one game Wild Card playoff. They are game changers.
The Tigers are 1 game back of the Red Sox and until last season, had dominated the AL Central for a few years. Although the division race is not totally out of question for them, the Wild Card is more obtainable playoff option for them considering Terry Francona’s Cleveland Indians won’t stop winning. This team is filled with veteran players that are no strangers to the playoffs and they are performing. Sluggers Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez are both hitting over .300 for the season and all but one of their starters have an ERA under 4. Right now I would pick them and the loser in the AL East to play the one game Wild Card game.
Last but not least we have the Mariners who have not been to a playoff game since 2001. They have dwelled in mediocrity since losing the American League Championship game that year. What’s different this season? One thing that sucking all those years did for this team is allowed them to get good prospects that they have mainly used as bargaining chips in order to get mature players they have needed. Like the Tigers a majority of their starters have and ERA under 4, but unlike them no players are hitting over .300, even slugger Robinson Cano sits at .297 for the season. That said, what they are doing seems to be working. Although logically I don’t think they will make the playoffs, it always nice to see the underdog win.
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