One week to go, it’s getting to crunch time
When Sunday’s games conclude, there will be one week remaining in the regular season. Seven days to determine some close races. And none are closer than the American League’s Wild Card chase, where the A’s, Royals and Mariners were all within one game of each other entering Sunday’s play with two berths at stake.
“This is a sprint now,” said Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon. “This is fun. Being tired or slumping, all that stuff goes out the window. Your intensity and adrenaline level are so high because of what’s at stake.”
The Indians appear to be the one team still with a shot at pushing into the three-team race as they’re three games back of Seattle going into Sunday’s play and will finish off a suspended game on Monday before their regularly scheduled series opener with the Royals, with Cleveland holding a 4-2 lead into the bottom of the 10th.
Assuming the Indians don’t blow that lead, the Royals will lose a half-game there, so Kansas City essentially is tied already with Seattle and the Indians will be 2 ½ behind Seattle. But unless the Indians win out, they’ll be hard pressed to make up that distance if the three teams above them win even three or four of their remaining games.
Here’s how Seattle’s primary competition lines up going into Sunday’s games. Three of these clubs will make the playoffs, with either Kansas City or Detroit winning the AL Central and then two of the remaining teams taking the Wild Card spots.
Detroit (86-68): at Kansas City (1), White Sox (3), Minnesota (4).
A’s (84-70): Philadelphia (1), Anaheim (3), at Texas (4).
Royals (83-70): Detroit, at Cleveland (3), at White Sox (3), plus Monday conclusion of suspended game Royals trail 4-2 in bottom of 10th vs. Indians.
Mariners (83-71): At Houston (1), at Toronto (4), Anaheim (3).
Indians (80-74): at Minnesota (1), Royals (3), Rays (3), plus Monday conclusion of suspended game Indians lead 4-2 in bottom of 10th vs. Royals..
Yankees (79-75): Toronto (1), Baltimore (4), at Boston (3).