There is about a month and a half left in the 2022 MLB season. They call these the dog days of summer as the season begins wearing on the players as teams start making their playoff push to get to the postseason. The new playoff format allows three Wild Card teams to qualify for the 2022 postseason. Here are the current playoff standings.
AL Wild Card standings, August 26
The New York Yankees are showing they are indeed mortal as they have only won 10 of 30 games post-All-Star break. This could allow for divisional rivals Tampa Bay or Toronto to make a push for the AL East crown, but I expect that to be easier said than done. For now, the Rays and Blue Jays hold the first two AL Wild Card spots. The Rays don’t have the roster caliber that other teams do, but they are getting everything they can from their players, and it is paying dividends to this point in the season. The question for Tampa Bay is how long they can sustain this momentum and if they can ride it to a playoff berth.
The Blue Jays have been underperforming the entire season. There was genuine optimism in the offseason that they would challenge New York this year, but it didn’t happen in the first half of the season. After some important trade deadline deals, it is finally starting to come together for the Blue Jays at the right time, which should allow them to at least secure a Wild Card spot this year if they can keep it up.
Seattle has the largest deficit as a second-place team in their division, sitting 11.5 games back of the Houston Astros. Barring a monumental meltdown by Houston, their sights are set on claiming one of the Wild Card spots. They rely on a balanced mixture of youth and veteran contributions as Julio Rodriguez is doing his best to earn AL Rookie of the Year honors.
The Twins and White Sox have the best chance of not earning a Wild Card spot because they ended up winning their division instead. The Cleveland Guardians sit 1.5 games up on the Twins and 2.5 on the White Sox. This is the most narrow divisional lead in all of baseball. Cleveland has been battling with Minnesota for the divisional lead most of the season, and neither team has been able to run away with it. The Central is still up for grabs as these three teams also compete for Wild Card spots.
While the Orioles are often mocked in the league, they are only 2.5 games back of a Wild Card spot. They had a strong second half of the season and are getting standout performances from the young talent. Baltimore will have plenty of chances to make up ground in the division, but the O’s likely need to just focus on securing a Wild Card spot.
The Red Sox have been brutally bad at times this season but are still within six games of a playoff spot. They have the toughest chance of close teams because the AL East has been one of the tougher divisions in all of baseball. They have struggled to rally around Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts, which could equate to an early expiration date for their season.