What if the Rangers win? What if the Royals win the Wild Card? How about the Indians? Or the Yankees? Is the first Wild Card spot really going to be held by the Rays? What happens if there is a tie?....We ask ourselves these questions every year in September, when teams are racing to the finish and when many possibilities are in order.
A couple of months ago, the AL Wild Card leaders had separated themselves from the rest of the pack, with the Rays and A's taking a solid lead. The A's haven't slowed down, as they now hold a 6.5 game lead on the Rangers in the AL West. But the Rays and Rangers are making this a race, for both Wild Card spots. The Rangers have lost seven games in a row and seem to be the collapse of the year, as they've tried to do everything they could, to no prevail. The Rays are just playing inconsistent baseball, but have won four of their last five, nonetheless.
What teams are benefitting from this mess? How about the Cleveland Indians. With their upcoming series against the Houston Astros, Chicago White Sox, and Minnesota Twins, the Indians fate truly rests in their own hands. They've won four of their last five, scoring 6.6 runs per game in that span. They could make the playoffs for the first time since 2007, as they're sitting 0.5 games back. The Orioles (2 GB), Yankees (2.5 GB), and Royals (2.5 GB) all sit behind the Rangers, as they've all tried to put the pressure on as of late.
At this point, I can't see the Rangers making the playoffs. Their loss of Nelson Cruz hurts the team, although that was decided that it wasn't much of a factor at the time of his suspension. Now, they need Cruz and all his power, to supply something, anything, to get this team back on a roll. Or at least get a win. I also like how the Indians are playing, as they are really the only team from the pack (Them, Orioles, Royals, Yankees) to really gain ground. They have a favorable schedule (actually one of the best schedules of any team) and are scoring some runs as of late. I wouldn't be surprised at this point if the Indians make the playoffs. But, don't count out on my original projection, the New York Yankees. They have a winning attitude, and who knows what could happen? What if they.....