Clinging to a sliver of hope
While mathematically in the mix, this trio of teams face quite the uphill climb.
In almost any of other year, teams that are 10th through 12th in the American League at this point in the season would never have a prayer of making the playoffs.
But if this article has taught you one thing, it’s that this is not a normal season.
Frankly, there seems to be just too many quality teams ahead of them to truly contend for a postseason bid.
Toronto Blue Jays
Overall record (through Sunday): 56-61
Last week: 4-2
This week: Vs. Tampa Bay Rays (Mon.-Thu.); at Chicago Cubs (Fri.-Sun.)
The Toronto Blue Jays sit four games behind the Angels for the final playoff spot in the American League.
But with six other teams between themselves and the Angels, it would take Josh Donaldson to start hitting like an MVP again to close the gap.
Oh wait, he has. He has seven home runs and 16 RBI since July 27. In that span, Donaldson has also raised his OPS from .803 to .855.
Donaldson’s increased production, though, is not enough to get the Blue Jays into true contention for a third straight postseason berth.
After posting a plus-93 run differential last season, Toronto already has a negative-84 differential this year.
That’s just not going to cut it.
Overall record (through Sunday): 56-60
Last week: 3-2
This week: Vs. Detroit Tigers (Mon.-Wed.); vs. Chicago White Sox (Thu.-Sun.)
The Rangers seem to be flirting with getting back to .500 and challenging for a Wild Card bid.
If Texas was ever going to make a real postseason push, this would be the week to pick up ground.
Seven games in seven days await the Rangers, but those seven games come against two of the three worst teams in the American League. While other potential playoff teams are facing each other, Texas could possibly post five or six wins against two teams that have thrown in the towel.
The Rangers are still staring up at several teams, including two in their own division, but in this wide-open race they can’t be discounted.
Just think if they had held on to Yu Darvish. No, I know they did the smart thing—unlike the next team on our list. I’m just saying it would have made things much more interesting.
Overall record (through Sunday): 58-60
Last week: 3-4
This week: At Seattle Mariners (Mon.-Wed.); off Thursday; vs. Los Angeles Angels (Fri.-Sun.)
A sweep of the Kansas City Royals put Baltimore in contention and made some pundits rethink slamming their decision to buy at the deadline.
At the time, picking up starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson, especially after his debut against the Royals, and shortstop Tim Beckham looked astute. The team also kept major bullpen chips Zach Britton and Brad Brach.
Since then, the decisions have not aged well.
The Orioles have yet to win a series since, despite a rather easy schedule. Splits with Detroit and Oakland—the latter on the road—aren’t stellar results. Baltimore has also lost two of three at the Los Angeles Angels, whom the Orioles will host this coming weekend.
Another subpar week might see the Orioles drop further down the pecking order.