We’ve seen some separation in the American League Wild Card standings recently as the three teams currently in Wild Card position have largely taken care of business, leaving the Baltimore Orioles four games back. Do the upstart O’s have enough time to catch up with just 24 games remaining? He’s a look at the Wild Card standings as of Saturday afternoon.
AL Wild Card standings, Sept. 14
Update — The Blue Jays and Rays split a double-header on Tuesday. Things are tight between the three WC teams, but it does appear the Orioles won’t be making the postseason. There are around 20 games left for each team and the O’s are 5.0 games back. That’s not easy when the other three teams are super close in the standings. The only way Baltimore can claw in is through the Jays. The Orioles face Toronto six more times this season. Sweeping those series could go a long way.
The Orioles (73-65) are the final legitimate threat to claim a Wild Card spot, but they have cooled in recent weeks. Baltimore is just 6-6 over its past 12 games and has lost ground in the standings as the Rays (9-3), Blue Jays (9-3) and Mariners (8-4) have all played better baseball over that same span. If the Orioles want to shock the world and make the postseason, they will have to topple their AL East nemeses as 15 of their final 24 contests will come against the Blue Jays, Yankees and Red Sox. Baltimore is 20-22 against that trio this season.
With Saturday’s matinee loss to the Yankees, the Rays are 4.5 games back of the Yanks in the AL East and only one game ahead of the Jays for the top Wild Card spot. Tampa Bay got Wander Franco back in its lineup on Friday, and ace starter Shane McClanahan should return to the rotation next week, but the Rays have arguably the toughest road ahead of any contending team. Nineteen of their final 25 games will be against teams with winning records, and they will end the regular season with a nine-game road trip that will take them through Cleveland, Houston and Boston.
The Blue Jays and Rays will see each other nine times down the stretch, so that’s what will decide the top of the Wild Card standings. The Mariners are surging for that No. 1 spot as well, and they have the lowest remaining opponents’ win percentage in all of baseball. Beyond this weekend’s series versus the Braves and two games against San Diego, Seattle will end its regular season playing teams that have already set their October tee times. They are in a strong spot to end the longest playoff drought among major men’s North American pro sports teams (20 years).
The White Sox (6.5 games back) and Twins (7.5 games back) are technically hanging around in the AL Wild Card race, but both of them have their eyes fully set on the AL Central title. Those teams enter Saturday trailing the Guardians by 1.5 games and 2.5 games, respectively.