Manager Joe Maddon of the Tampa Bay Rays congratules Sean Rodriguez after he scored against the Texas Rangers during Game Four of the American League Division Series.
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 (86-69) — The Rays haven't helped the Rangers a bit, winning seven of their last 10 and coming back to win an extra-innings marathon against the Rangers last week. They can sweep the once-contending Baltimore Orioles on Monday afternoon and really put a lot of pressure on the Rangers. Chris Archer, the solid rookie pitcher, is going for the Rays, who will head off to The Bronx for a three-game set on Tuesday. Go Yankees. Next up: Today, 2:10 p.m., vs. Baltimore Orioles.
2. Cleveland Indians (86-70) — The Indians are as close to a sure bet as there is to make the Wild Card Game with their soft remaining schedule. They just scored a four-game sweep of the lowly Houston Astros and now host the Chicago White Sox and then end the season with a series against the Minnesota Twins. If you could request three teams to play in the American League to close the season, that's the list you'd turn in. Next up: Tuesday, 6:05 p.m., vs. Cleveland Indians.
3. Texas Rangers (84-71) — The Rangers are 1.5 games behind Cleveland for that second spot, but as we said, if the Rangers are catching anyone, it's most likely going to be the Rays, who currently hold a 2-game lead over the Rangers. The Rangers have no choice, they have to sweep the Astros and head into that final four-game set against the Los Angeles Angels with some momentum and confidence. The Rangers are a combined 25-6 against the Astros and Angels this year, so that bodes well, but the Angels are playing well and would love nothing more than to spoil the Rangers' season. It's going to be a stressful week, folks. Buckle up. Next up: Monday, 7:05 p.m., vs. Houston Astros.
The Royals are 2.5 games back of the Rangers and the Yankees and Orioles are virtually out of the race, barring a complete miracle.