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AL contenders check-in: Orioles fall to Rays, Rangers pick up ground

Things aren’t going great in Baltimore for some. Are you having heart palpitations as well?

Tampa Bay Rays v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

The talk in Baltimore is all about the weekend series with the Rays. If I were a neutral spectator I would have enjoyed last night’s game. It was close with big implications. Unfortunately, I was not a neutral spectator and it was very tough to watch. You can read the full details for that game in the game recap.

Now just one game divides the Orioles from the team that has been chasing them since late July. My heart can’t take this.

AL East

Baltimore Orioles

  • Currently: 91-55, +1 G in AL East
  • Last seven days: 3-4
  • Playoff odds: Postseason: >99.9%; Division: 83.4%
  • Up next: 3 vs. Tampa Bay, 3 @ Houston, 1 @ Cleveland

The Orioles have started to slump at the wrong time and over the last week their lead over the Rays and been trimmed from four games to just one. They won a series against the Red Sox but then played a very disappointing series against the Cardinals and lost the first of four against the Rays. The bats are struggling. They’ll snap out of it, but will it be before they lose the division?

Things won’t get easier after the finish the series with the Rays as they have to go on the road to play the first-place Astros. Gulp.

Tampa Bay Rays

  • Currently: 91-57, 1 GB in AL East, +9 in Wild Card
  • Last seven days: 6-1
  • Playoff odds: Postseason: >99.9%, Division: 16.6%
  • Up next: 3 @ Baltimore, 3 vs. LA Angels

Ugh. The Rays have been playing really good baseball for a while now, and the Orioles’ three-game losing streak has allowed them to pull to within one game of the AL East. If they want to win the season series and thus a tiebreaker with the Orioles, however, they’ll have to pull off the four-game sweep. The odds aren’t in their favor, but after watching last night’s game this Orioles fan isn’t feeling that confident.

Injury Report: Jose Siri (broken hand) just went on the IL after getting hit by a pitch on 9/12 and going on the IL. The Rays hope to have him back for the postseason. OF Manuel Margot (elbow loose bodies) was activated before the start of the Orioles series.

AL West

Team W L GB L10
Team W L GB L10
Houston Astros 83 64 - 6-4
Texas Rangers 82 64 0.5 6-4
Seattle Mariners 81 65 1.5 4-6

Houston Astros

  • Currently: 83-64, 0.5 game lead in AL West
  • Last seven days: 3-3
  • Baseball Reference Playoff odds: 94.2% (+2.1%)
  • Up next: 3 @ Kansas City, 3 vs. Baltimore

The Astros are treading water and just finished a losing series against the A’s. That’s gotta sting. Their saving grace for the week is that the Mariners were unable to take advantage. They will try to right their ship against the Royals and then the Orioles will face them at home for three games.

Injury Report: RHP Ryne Stanek (sprained ankle) still hopes to return by the end of the season.

Texas Rangers

  • Currently: 81-64, 3 GB in AL West, 0.5 game in AL West, +0.5 game in Wild Card
  • Last seven days: 6-1
  • Baseball Reference Playoff odds: 80/4% (+31.3%)
  • Up next: 3 @ Cleveland, 3 vs. Boston

After winning a series against the A’s, the Rangers went into Toronto and pulled off the always difficult four-game sweep. Now the Rangers, who had been floundering, find themselves in playoff position again. It was a 180-degree turnaround from the previous week and they now find themselves even in the loss column with the first-place Astros.

Injury Report: In the midst of their good week, the Rangers got the very bad news that Max Scherzer (right teres major strain) is finished for the regular season and most likely the postseason. Adolis García (patellar tendon strain) is expected back today and Josh Jung (broken thumb) on Monday.

AL Wild Card

Team W L GB L10
Team W L GB L10
Tampa Bay Rays 91 57 9 8-2
Texas Rangers 82 64 1 6-4
Seattle Mariners 81 65 - 4-6
Toronto Blue Jays 80 67 -1.5 5-5

Seattle Mariners

  • Currently: 81-65, 1.5 game back in AL West, 3rd WC spot
  • Last seven days: 3-4
  • Playoff odds: 71.6% (-11.9%)
  • Up next: 3 vs. LA Dodgers, 3 @ Oakland

The Mariners spent last weekend losing three out of four games to the Rays and being generally useless to the Orioles. Winning two out of three from the Angels following somewhat salvaged their week, but they lost a chance to make up big ground on the Astros.

Injury Report: Jarred Kelenic is day-to-day after fouling a ball off of his right foot on Monday.

Toronto Blue Jays

  • Currently: 80-67, 1.5 GB of 3rd WC spot
  • Last seven days: 3-4
  • Baseball Reference Playoff odds: 53.4% (-16.1%)
  • Up next: 3 vs. Boston, 3 @ NY Yankees

The Blue Jays had to be feeling good after a sweep of the Royals last weekend, but then the Rangers came into their house and took four straight. They went from the third WC spot, a half-game ahead of the Rangers, to the outside looking in. Now they get to spend the next seven days playing against the worst of the division.

Injury Report: Matt Chapman (jammed finger) was activated from the IL on Thursday. Brandon Belt (lumbar spine muscle spasm) has no timetable for return.

AL Central

The Minnesota Twins (77-70) are on pace for 85 wins. Their magic number to win the division is eight. I hate them.