Apparently, 162 games are unnecessary: barring calamitous change, we have our playoff teams. Let’s dive right in:
The AL Central
This is the only real race left. The Royals are a game back from the Tigers, with no games left between them. Both teams have six games remaining, so the end result is far from certain. One (highly) possible outcome is the Royals and Tigers finishing the season tied for first, which would result in a one-game playoff for the division title hosted in Detroit, which has the better head-to-head record.
The AL Wild Card
Oakland has pulled itself out of its meteoric nosedive and managed to win a few games. The Athletics now hold a tenuous one-game lead on the first Wild Card spot. Normally, that’d be a bit up in the air, but considering that four of their last six games are against the unforgivably terrible Rangers, I wouldn’t count on them relinquishing it. The second spot is currently held by Kansas City, and will be filled by the loser of the race for the crown of the Central.
Poor, poor Seattle. Earlier in the week, when the M’s split a four-game series with the Angels, I thought they might actually make it, but then they dropped 2 of 3 to the Astros and now sit two games back of the Royals in the Wild Card race. The Mariners’ only hope rests on one of the Central teams collapsing and the Angels, against whom the Mariners finish the season, resting their starters for the playoffs.
The Crazy Scenario
This is unlikely, but the mere possibility of it makes me giddy. Of the last six games: If the Royals win one more than the Tigers, they’ll have a one game playoff to determine the central winner.
If the Mariners win two more than the Royals, they’ll face the loser of that playoff to determine the winner of the second wild card spot.
The winner of that game would then play a THIRD CONSECUTIVE PLAYOFF against the A’s to determine the overall wild card winner.