Five teams are still contending for two AL wild-card berths with less than a week remaining in the regular season. But the last few days have brought a small amount of clarity, making it seem more like three teams are battling for one spot in the playoffs.
The New York Yankees have pulled two games up on Boston for the first AL wild card, while the Oakland A’s sit on the brink of elimination, 3.5 games behind the Red Sox.
Race for second wild-card berth tightens in final days
In between those extremes are three teams separated by a single game. The Red Sox lead the race for the second wild card with an 88-69 record, but Boston has struggled in recent days, taking a sweep at the hands of the Yankees before losing to the Orioles on Tuesday.
That makes four losses in a row for the Red Sox, who suddenly appear vulnerable after looking like the front runner for the top AL wild card just a few days earlier.
“We’ve been getting [dragged] through the mud the last four games,” Red Sox started Chris Sale said after Tuesday’s loss. “We’ve gotta find something, man. These games, they’re not making any more of them, and we’re getting toward the end. We know where we’re at.”
Suddenly, the Seattle Mariners (88-70) sit just one game back of Boston for that second AL wild card. The Mariners won 17 games in September, and on Tuesday, they beat the A’s for the 11th straight time – a new Seattle record for the most consecutive wins against one team.
Blue Jays can shake up race by beating Yankees
The Toronto Blue Jays (87-70) sit just a single game behind the Red Sox for that second wild-card position. Toronto finds itself with a challenge and an opportunity, as it’s currently hosting the Yankees in a three-game series. While New York took the first game 7-2 on Tuesday, the entire wild-card race could flip if the Blue Jays find a way to win the next two.
Meanwhile, the Yankees (90-67) say they’re only focusing on winning a few more games to secure the first AL wild-card spot and home-field advantage in the one-game playoff.
|AL Wild Card Odds (via DraftKings Sportsbook)|
|Record||Odds to Make Playoffs||Remaining Games|
|New York Yankees||90-67||-2000||at Toronto (2), Tampa Bay (3)|
|Boston Red Sox||88-69||-150||at Baltimore (2), at Washington (3)|
|Toronto Blue Jays||87-70||+240||Yankees (2), Baltimore (3)|
|Seattle Mariners||88-70||+300||Oakland (1), Angels (3)|
“Here, down the stretch against good clubs, you either do it or you don’t,” Aaron Judge told reporters. “You either bring it or don’t bring it. When the season is on the line, this team is gonna show up.”
The Yankees have played themselves into a dominant position. DraftKings Sportsbook lists New York as a -2000 favorite to make the playoffs. The Red Sox (-150) are also a favorite to find their way into the postseason.
Seattle (+300) faces longer odds, as it technically doesn’t control its own destiny, though every win puts more pressure on the Red Sox. The Blue Jays stand at +240 to land a wild-card berth, as they finish the season with five home games: two more against the Yankees, followed by three against the lowly Orioles.