With less than two weeks to go in the Major League season, the wild card race in the American League is still extremely competitive as there are still five teams that are fighting for the two wildcard spots.
In the American League, Baltimore and Toronto are the two teams that occupy the two wildcard spots while Seattle, New York, Houston, and Detroit are within four games of the Orioles for the second spot. Of the four teams on the outside, looking in, New York has the lowest odds of making the playoffs according to Fangraphs. The AL team with the highest odds of overtaking the Orioles for the second wildcard spot is the Tigers.
Detroit is currently sitting two games back from Baltimore and Toronto in the wildcard standings. The Tigers’s remaining schedule includes seven games against the first place Indians, five against the last place Twins, three games against the middling Royals, and three games against the awful Braves. It’s not an easy schedule down the stretch….but it isn’t exactly a difficult schedule either. Fortunately for Detroit, the roster is free of injury — other than 3B Nick Castellanos‘s sore hand — and that’s going to be huge for the team as it competes for a playoff berth.
The Tigers, and the three other teams chasing the second wildcard spot, are pursuing the Baltimore Orioles. Baltimore’s remaining schedule has about as difficult as Detroit’s; the Orioles have five games against Boston (two more on the road, three at home), three in Camden Yards against Tampa Bay and Arizona, before concluding the season with a two game set in Toronto and three game series in the Bronx. That two game series against the Blue Jays is going to be extremely important for Baltimore as it could help them secure the first wildcard spot, and home field advantage for the wildcard game.
As for the Blue Jays, they have the toughest schedule left as they have nine games against playoff contenders — including three against the AL East leading Red Sox. It’s going to be a tough stretch for them, but if they can win a couple of the series they’ll be able to improve their chance of securing the wildcard…or even overtake Boston for the division lead.
Seattle and New York are hanging around in the hunt for a playoff spot. The Yankees are the hanging around despite having the lowest odds of capturing a playoff spot compared to the remaining contenders — those with odds at more than 10%. It’ll be interesting to see how these two teams are able to impact the race…or if they’ll somehow capture one of the two wildcard spots.
AL Wildcard standings and playoff odds
|TEAM||WINS||LOSSES||GAMES BACK||WILD CARD%|
|Toronto Blue Jays||79||65||0.0||51.8%|
|New York Yankees||77||67||2.0||13.4%|
Playoff odds are courtesy of Fangraphs