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AL contenders check-in: Break up the Seattle Mariners

The Mariners are scorching hot right now. They’re also playing the Orioles starting tonight. So that’s not ideal.

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Los Angeles Angels Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Despite a stressful series loss against the Houston Astros, the Orioles had a good week overall, increasing their lead in the AL East by a game. As we enter mid-August the team is starting to look like a near-lock for the postseason in some capacity. They remain Baseball Reference’s pick to be the top seed in the AL postseason. Is this real?

Elsewhere around the league, the Angels are out of the race unless something goes incredibly right for them and incredibly wrong for many other teams. But their division mates, the Mariners, are suddenly back into things, just 1.5 games back of the final wild card spot. And the Red Sox and Yankees are floundering without much way forward to the postseason. You hate to see it. Just kidding, you love it.

Playoff Odds

Team Postseason Wild Card Division
Team Postseason Wild Card Division
Baltimore Orioles 98.00% 31.70% 66.30%
Tampa Bay Rays 94.40% 66.20% 28.20%

Things are looking better and better for the Orioles as we get deeper into the season, and it’s reflected in Baseball Reference’s postseason odds. When the season started, they gave the Orioles a 54.4% chance of making the playoffs, quite the difference from the current odds.

Baltimore Orioles

  • Currently: 71-44, +3 G in AL East
  • Last seven days: 4-2
  • Remaining Strength of Schedule: .485
  • Up next: 3 @ Seattle, 3 @ San Diego

A 4-2 homestand is a successful homestand, even if it doesn’t quite feel like it after the Orioles dropped two out of three to the Astros. But a sweep of the Mets last weekend put the team in a good position. Now they head out to the west coast for a nine-game road trip that starts tonight in Seattle. That series looks a lot tougher than it did a few weeks ago as the Mariners are surging.

Tampa Bay Rays

  • Currently: 69-48, 3 GB in AL East, +4 in Wild Card
  • Last seven days: 3-3
  • Remaining Strength of Schedule: .520

The Rays had to be hoping to go better than 3-3 against the Detroit Tigers and St. Louis Cardinals. They took two out of three against the Tigers on the road, then came home and dropped the series against the Cardinals. Since July 1st they have gone just 12-19. In the past week, they fell one game farther back than the Orioles and lost 1.5 games on their lead in the top WC spot.

This week, they will finish up their homestand with three games against the 56-60 Guardians, then hit the road for a west coast trip of their own. The San Francisco Giants are currently in WC position themselves so it won’t be easy.

Injury Report: It’s nothing but bad news for the Rays. Their ace, Shane McClanahan, is likely out for the season as they determine how to treat his forearm soreness. And fellow SP Tyler Glasnow is day-to-day with back spasms.

AL Wild Card

Team W L PCT GB L10
Team W L PCT GB L10
Tampa Bay Rays 69 48 0.590 4 6-4
Houston Astros 66 50 0.569 1.5 7-3
Toronto Blue Jays 65 52 0.556 - 7-3
Seattle Mariners 62 52 0.544 -1.5 9-1
Boston Red Sox 59 55 0.518 -4.5 3-7
New York Yankees 59 56 0.513 5 4-6

Houston Astros

  • Currently: 66-50, 2.5 GB in AL West, +1.5 G in Wild Card
  • Last seven days: 4-2
  • Baseball Reference Playoff odds: 83.8% (+1.1%)

The Astros played well in the past week, but lost ground in the AL West as the Rangers lost just once. They also lost a game on their lead as the 2nd wild card due to the hot play of the Mariners. They won their series against both the Yankees and Orioles. Now they are back home for a weekend series against the now .500 Angels. They follow that with three on the road against the Marlins, who are struggling of late to hold on to their own WC spot.

Injury Report: José Abreu (lower back pain) and Chas McCormick (left knee bruise) are both day-to-day and missed the finale in Baltimore. Abreu will undergo further tests in Houston.

Toronto Blue Jays

  • Currently: 65-52, 7 GB in AL East, +0 G in Wild Card
  • Last seven days: 5-2
  • Baseball Reference Playoff odds: 74.9% (+7.4%)

If the Blue Jays were frustrated after losing three out of four at home to the Orioles, they took out that frustration on the Red Sox. Despite being winless against them for the year, the Blue Jays went into Boston and mopped the floor in a sweep, scoring 25 runs in three games. They followed that up with a four-game split with the Guardians.

The Jays have two days off this coming week. They host the Cubs for the weekend, then after an off day on Monday play the Phillies, also at home, in a two-game series.

Injury Report: Jordan Romano (back inflammation) could be activated before Saturday’s game. Bo Bichette (right patellar tendinitis) still has no timetable for return, though he is jogging and hitting in the cage.

Seattle Mariners

  • Currently: 62-52, 5.5 GB in AL West, 1.5 GB in Wild Card
  • Last seven days: 6-0
  • Baseball Reference Playoff odds: 41.5% (+22.6%)

It was a heck of a week for the Mariners, who won every game they played. They have lost just one game since July 30th, in fact, and have leaped over both the Red Sox and the Yankees in the WC race.

After a clean sweep of the Angels and Padres, the Mariners welcome the Orioles to town this weekend. Gulp. After that, they go on the road for a 10-game road trip that starts with four games against the Royals. This is a team to watch.

Injury Report: Starter Bryan Woo (great name? or greatest name?) is out until at least August 20th with forearm inflammation. Jarred Kelenic has a broken foot and is out until September at the earliest.

Other Teams

Texas Rangers (68-47) - The AL West-leading Rangers are surging and just had a 5-1 week in which they swept the contending Marlins. They gained a game on the Orioles this week in the race for top seed, they are now three games back. And they also gained a game on the second-place Astros in the AL West.

Minnesota Twins (60-57) - The AL Central leaders have a 3.5-game cushion over the second-place Guardians. They also now have one more win than the team in fifth place in the AL East, so good for them.

Boston Red Sox (60-55) - Fourth place in the division, tied for last place in our hearts. The Red Sox got whooped up on by the Blue Jays but took three out of four from the Royals. They are teetering into irrelevance in the playoff picture.

New York Yankees (59-56) - The Yankees are in last place. They went 2-4 last week. I enjoy it.

*Note: Playoff odds from Baseball Reference do not include results from games on August 10th.