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AL Wild Card update: Race for playoff spots becoming much tighter

Seven teams are fighting for three spots in the American League. We take a look at the Wild Card picture at the beginning of August.

Matt Chapman #26 and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. #27 of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrate a 9-3 victory against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field on August 4, 2022 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

The Wild Card race in both the AL and NL is expected to be tight and competitive well into September in the 2022 season. MLB revamped the playoffs during the offseason and added another wild card team in each league, which will give us six teams in the postseason on each side. The new format features byes for the Nos. 1 and 2 seeds in each league while the worst division winner takes on the last WC spot. The first and second WC teams face each other in a three-game series to determine who advances. Below we’ll go over the AL Wild Card picture.

AL Wild Card standings, August 9

1st Wild Card: Toronto Blue Jays — 60-49, +1.5
2nd Wild Card: Tampa Bay Rays — 58-50, +0.5
3rd Wild Card: Seattle Mariners — 59-52, —

Baltimore Orioles — 57-52, 1.0 GB
Cleveland Guardians — 56-52, 1.5 GB
Chicago White Sox — 55-53, 2.5 GB
Boston Red Sox — 54-56, 4.5 GB

It’s worth noting before we get into this that the AL Central race is also tight between the Minnesota Twins — who lead the division — White Sox and Guardians. Those three teams are separated by 2.0 games in the standings.

The Blue Jays will have a tough time catching the New York Yankees in first place in the AL East but it isn’t an insurmountable lead. Toronto should be able to clinch at least a WC spot with about two months left in the regular season. The Blue Jays only face the Yanks seven more times this season. The Jays do face the O’s 15 times the rest of the way, so that could decide one of the WC spots in the AL.

The Mariners loaded up at the deadline by adding Luis Castillo from the Cincinnati Reds. Seattle has had a rough go with injuries this season and most recently lost Julio Rodriguez to a wrist issue. If the M’s can get healthy toward the end of the season, they should be able to claw into the playoffs.