AL Wild-Card Race

Audio/Story posted September 26, 2019 in Sports, CommRadio by Matthew White

Host Logan Bourandas, Jeremy Schooler, Zech Lambert and Ben Serfass discuss the playoff race in both the American and National League:

As the Major League Baseball season heads into the final week of the season, there is no shortage of drama in the American League wild-card race. 

The Houston Astros and New York Yankees won their second and 19th division title, respectively.  The magic number for the Minnesota Twins in the central division is three games, which gives the Twins an opportunity to clinch the division on Wednesday. 

The Oakland Athletics (94-62) lead the wild-card race by 1.5 games over the Tampa Bay Rays (93-64), who have a half game lead over Cleveland Indians (92-64) for the second wild-card spot. 

The Athletics are on the road for the remaining six games of the season, however, the two series are against two below .500 teams in the Los Angeles Angels and Seattle Mariners. Therefore, the Athletics are the favorite to host the AL wild-card game as they will seek their first home playoff win since 2013. 

The Rays host the Yankees for two games and then will travel to Toronto for a three game series. Tampa Bay will also have a rest day on Thursday.

Cleveland’s remaining six games appear to be the most difficult as they play both the Chicago White Sox and Washington Nationals on the road.

If there is a three-way tie, Oakland, by virtue of their 9-4 record against the two other opponents, would have two opportunities to earn a wild -card spot. The first at the Coliseum against Tampa Bay, with Cleveland playing the loser of that game. 

A one-game tiebreaker for the second wild-card spot would take place at Tropicana Field because of the Rays’ 6-1 record against Cleveland this year.  

The Athletics are an intriguing team as they posted a 21-9 record in their last 30 games and have performed well against postseason teams. Additionally, Sean Menea holds a 1.14 earned run average since his return from Tommy John surgery. 

The Rays should win the second wild-card spot as Blake Snell just returned from his injury. The only concern with this team is that its bullpen has the most usage in the MLB this year and they just played three extra-inning games. 

It would be surprising to see the Cleveland Indians sneak in the wild-card spot. However, they have an easy opportunity to sweep the White Sox before facing the Nationals. Furthermore, it’s likely they can win games in the nation’s capital as Shane Bieber is scheduled to pitch during the weekend. 

 

Matthew White is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism with a double minor in Spanish and Business.  To contact him, email mmw42@psu.edu.