Forget about the AL West, In a weekly segment, we'll take a look at the AL Wild Card race — what's happened so far, and what's on tap in the coming days — to determine the two wild card spots for the Oct. 2 AL Wild Card Game.
1. Tampa Bay Rays (83-68) — The Rays entered their current series with Texas in almost as much of a downward spiral as the Rangers but it's been a back-and-forth series and the Rays can either take three of four or see Texas earn a four-game split with Thursday's finale. The Rangers have to like their chances with Yu Darvish on the hill, but the Rays have to feel equally good about theirs as they run out Matt Moore, who's never been beaten by the Rangers. Next up: Today, 6:10 p.m., vs. Texas Rangers.
2. Texas Rangers (82-69) — If the Rangers get a start from Darvish like they have in his last two outings in which he went at least seven innings, struck out double-digits and allowed zero runs, they'll be back in a tie for the Wild Card lead, right? Well, not exactly. In those two outings, the Rangers lost games 1-0. They'll have to be able to score some runs against Matt Moore, which is something the Rangers have never done. On a positive note, the Rangers have taken early leads in the past two games, something that had become foreign to them. On Wednesday in a rare turn of events, the bullpen coughed up a lead. Next up: Today, 6:10 p.m., at Tampa Bay Rays.
3. Cleveland Indians (82-70) — Just a half-game back of the Rangers, the Indians lost to the upstart Royals on Wednesday night to prevent them from vaulting into the top two in the race. The Indians have the easiest remaining schedule of all these teams as they now head to a four-game set with the Houston Astros. You'd have to imagine the Indians will find their way into that top two by season's end. The only question is, will they be playing the Rangers in that win-or-go-home game? Next up: Today, 6:05 p.m., vs. Houston Astros.
4. Baltimore Orioles (81-70) — The team that knocked the Rangers off in the inaugural Wild Card Game last season is right back in the thick of things again, sitting one game back of the Rangers for the second spot. The O's remaining schedule is tough, as they close a four-game set in Boston on Thursday after winning Wednesday's game in extra-innings. Next up: Today, 6:10 p.m., at Boston Red Sox.
5. New York Yankees (80-72) — Sitting 2.5 games back of the Rangers for the second spot, the Yankees seem to be fading, but they have reclaimed some old magic lately with the likes of Alex Rodriguez and Alfonso Soriano leading the charge offensively. They were able to knock off Toronto with a late rally on Wednesday and close the series out on Thursday. Next up: Today, 6:07 p.m., at Toronto Blue Jays.
6. Kansas City Royals (80-72) — Look at those young, pesky Royals. After it looked like they were starting to fade about a month ago, the Royals have gone on a tear. They're giving the Indians fits right now, but they're also the last good team the Indians play. The Royals have a tough road to hoe, including a three-game set against the Rangers. Next up: Friday, 7:10 p.m., vs. Texas Rangers.