A wild finish looming upon the American League Wild Card Race

Suchith Vuppala

Let’s take a quick preview of the American League’s upper echelon this season (as of Sept. 18):

1. East- NY Yankees (83-63)
Baltimore Orioles (84-64)
Tampa Bay Rays (78-70)

2. Central- Chicago
White Sox (81-66)
Detroit Tigers (78-69)

3. West- Texas Rangers (87-60)
Oakland Athletics (84-63)
LA Angels (81-67)

Although it’s no match to the historically close finish to the AL Wild Card race last season, this year’s race is proving to be a nail-biter of its own kind. The Rangers taking the West and the White Sox claiming the Central seem to be the most obvious take-home conclusions. However, with approximately 16 games to go (nearly 10 percent of the season), the East is still up for grabs between the Yankees and the Orioles. Of those two teams, the one that doesn’t take the East will vie for the fourth seed (first wild card spot) with the Oakland Athletics. The one that doesn’t take the fourth seed will likely end up as the fifth seed (second wild card spot). In a nutshell, the epicenter of this competition lies between the Yankees, Orioles and the Athletics.

Three other teams that are currently stretching for the wild card but definitely within striking range are: Los Angeles Angels, Tampa Bay Rays and the Detroit Tigers. As they creep upon the finish line, these three teams could definitely have a say in who plays in that wild card game. The Angels selected an unpropitious time to completely lose their momentum against the Athletics and lost three straight games. The Rays and Tigers need to start doing something different, considering they are quickly exiting the wild card picture. A few miracles definitely wouldn’t hurt them.