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What does the AL playoff picture look like heading into final month of MLB season?

We update you on the standings in the American League and which teams are in position to clinch a playoff berth.

Joey Wendle of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrates with teammates Randy Arozarena and Austin Meadows after hitting a grand slam home run in the seventh inning during a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on August 29, 2021 in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

With the final month of the 2021 MLB regular season upon us, the playoff races are starting to heat up. In the American League, the playoff picture is much more clearer as the Tampa Bay Rays, Houston Astros, and Chicago White Sox all have healthy leads in their respective divisions.

However, when it comes to the AL Wild Card race, there are five teams from two divisions competing for two spots. Below we’ll take a look at the AL playoff picture and breakdown the potential playoff matchups.

American League playoff picture

No. 1 seed, AL East leader — Tampa Bay Rays (84-48)
No. 2 seed, AL West leader — Houston Astros (78-54)
No. 3 seed, AL Central leader — Chicago White Sox (77-56)

Wild Card

1st WC — New York Yankees (76-56) — +2.0
2nd WC — Boston Red Sox (75-59) —
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Oakland Athletics (73-59) — 1.0 GB
Seattle Mariners (71-62) — 3.5 GB
Toronto Blue Jays (69-62) — 4.5 GB

Potential playoff matchups

Rays vs. Yankees/Red Sox
Astros vs. White Sox

While a potential Tampa-Boston ALDS series would be nice to watch, most baseball fans want to see the Rays and Yankees face off. If you remember last season, these two teams had bad blood, with the Rays returning the favor and defeating the Yankees in five games in the divisional series.

This season, the Rays are the best team in the American League and lead the season series over Yankees with a 9-7 record. Both teams possess powerful offenses that could put a big inning at any moment. As for the second matchup, we could see a tremendous series of pitching between the Astros and White Sox. Houston has a few young starters in Framber Valdez, Lance McCullers, and Luis Garcia, who could compete with the White Sox’s trio of Lance Lynn, Carlos Rodon, and Lucas Giolito. Not to mention, both the Astros and White Sox have sluggers that can change the game with one swing.