Will this be the last week I can stomach posting a scoreboard watching update? After the poor play by the Orioles lately, it's possible. It's up to the Orioles to prove me wrong, but with two teams between them and the second wild card and a third tied with them, it'll take help for them to have any chance at the playoffs. Maybe a trip up to Canada is just what the doctor ordered?
There is the wild card race in a nutshell. The Rays are reeling, the Yankees are winning, and the Orioles are tied with the Royals, for crying out loud. If the Yankees end up taking the second wild card and the playoff teams end up being the Red Sox, Tigers, A's, Rangers, and Yankees I might not even watch. Well, I will watch to root for Pittsburgh, but I won't be happy about it.
The Rangers have not been playing good baseball. They hold a two-game lead over the Rays for the first wild card slot, but not too long ago they were comfortabley in first place in the A.L. West. Now the Athletics have a 3 1/2 game lead over them in the division thanks to a week in which the Rangers went 1-2 against the Angels and got swept by the Pirates.
Next up for the Rangers is a three-game series at home against the A's followed by four games at Tampa Bay. If they don't get out of their funk they are going to tumble right out of the wild card altogether and give their spot to the Yankees or Indians.
Like the Rangers, the Rays are wilting. It's the only reason that the teams below them still have a prayer for the playoffs. They went 2-4 on the week with two losses out of three games to both the Mariners and the Red Sox. They get to play the Twins this weekend which sounds likea blessing, but they haven't been able to beat the bad teams or the good teams lately.
The Yankees went just .500 over their last two series, dropping three of four to the Red Sox before taking three of for from the Orioles. They are using the 2012 O's trick of winning one-run games and generally playing above their head, and they might just do it long enough to get into the playoffs, which is supremely irritating.
This weekend we again need to root for the Red Sox to beat the Yankees, then we need to hope that the Blue Jays can beat them as well. It probably won't happen. The Yankees are 13-3 against Toronto on the season.
The Indians went 4-3 over the last seven days to gain 1/2 game on the Orioles. They took two of three from the Mets and then lost their series with the Royals. Yesterday they started a long weekend series with the White Sox with a 13-4 win. The Indians are now 12-2 against Chicago on the season. After their weekend series that they will probably sweep, the Indians are off to KC for a rematch with the Royals.
Speaking of the Royals, they have been playing well enough over the last several weeks to get back into the playoff race. I have to root against them at the moment since they're tied with the Orioles, but if any team is going to beat out the O's for that final playoff spot, ultimately I hope that it's them.
The Royals went 4-2 over the last week with series wins against both the Tigers and the Indians, and the repeat that schedule again over the next seven days. Three on the road against Detroit followed by three at home against the Cleveland.
The Orioles spent last weekend doing what everyone else is baseball has been doing all year: beating the White Sox. They took three out of four before immediately dropping three of four to the Yankees. The entire Yankees series was a mess, but if you want the gist of it just look at the ninth inning of last night's game. Tie game, the Yankees have a runner on first and bunt. Jim Johnson threw the ball alway trying to get the runner at second, and that runner eventually came in to score the winning run on a wild pitch. Sigh.
The Orioles will now head off on what I would have called an important road trip a week ago, but now I'm over it. After what will hopefully be three low stress days in Canada playing the Blue Jays, the Orioles go to Boston to face the Red Sox and then continue their road trip against the Rays. So they will probably be completely out of the race in seven days.