Heading into the final week of the regular season, the Oakland A’s (94-62) hold a two-game lead in the AL wild-card standings over the Tampa Bay Rays and Cleveland Indians. The Rays and Indians are tied, with six games remaining in the AL Wild Card race that will come down to the final series.
The way the playoff race was shaping up, it seemed like the NL wild card would come down to the final week of the season, and probably, the last weekend series. However, with six games to go in the season, it’s the AL wild card that might come down to the wire after the Cubbies completely imploded.
The Oakland A’s got hot at the right time to surge to the front of the AL wild-card race. The A’s are 10-2 in their last 12 games to put themselves in the best possible spot to advance to the post season.
AL WILD CARD STANDINGS
Oakland A’s 94-62
Cleveland Indians 92-64
Tampa Bay Rays 92-64
The Cleveland Indians won six out of their last seven games to put themselves in a tie for the final wild-card spot. Meanwhile, the Tampa Rays are stumbling to the finish line. The Rays went 5-5 over their last 10 games, but the pulled off three remarkable extra-inning victories last week to keep their postseason dreams alive.
Left Coast Oakland, Lock It Up
Oakland finishes the rest of the season on the road. Lucky for the A’s, they get to stay on the West Coast. On Tuesday, the A’s head down to Anaheim to take on the LA Angels for a two-game series. The Angels are without MVP-worthy Mike Trout, nor do they have two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani.
After a quickie in SoCal, the A’s fly up to Seattle on Thursday. The A’s finish the season with a four-game series against the last-place Mariners (66-90).
According to FanGraphs, the Oakland A’s are a 97 percent chance to advance to the playoffs. Just in case you’re bad at math, the A’s are less than a 3 percent chance to completely choke and blow their wild-card spot.
Rays vs. King of the North
The Rays finish the season with six AL East games. Even though the Yankees (102-55) locked up the division, they’re fighting for home-field advantage in the playoffs. The Yanks are tied with the Houston Astros (and hold a two-game edge over the LA Dodgers).
The Rays have one more game against the Red Sox before the Yankees come to town for a two-game set. The Rays finish the season with a weekend series against the Blue Jays (63-93) in Toronto.
According to Fan Graphs, the Tampa Rays are a 55 percent chance to secure a spot in the AL wild-card race.
Cleveland Coin Flip
Cleveland will be on the road for their final six games. They play a crappy Chicago White Sox (68-87) team this week before ending the series with an interleague match against the Washington Nationals (85-69). The Nats currently have an NL wild-card spot, but if things get weird this weekend, the Indians could be facing a team that’s also essentially in playoff mode.
The Indians have their share of problems, but they have the second-best pitching in the AL behind the Houston Astros. And that’s even after they traded away Trevor Bauer for Yasiel Puig. Plus, manager Terry Francona knows how to win games in October. I wouldn’t want to be playing the Indians in the playoffs.
As dangerous as the Indians can be, it’s less than a coin flip that they’ll actually advance in the final week of the AL wild-card race. According to FanGraphs, the Cleveland Indians are a 48 percent chance to make the playoffs. That’s slightly lower than the Rays.