In the thick of it
This is where things get really crazy.
A sampling of how insane the fight for the second Wild Card spot has been over the past seven days:
- On Tuesday, the Kansas City Royals, Seattle Mariners and Tampa Bay Rays were all tied for the position.
- On Friday, the Minnesota Twins held the spot with three teams a half-game back.
- On Saturday, the Los Angeles Angels became the fifth different team—of the week!—to at least be tied for the position.
At some point, a few of these teams will fall off. I mean they would have to, right?
There’s no way there could be five different teams holding the second Wild Card spot in the final week of the season. Or am I just saying that to make myself feel better?
Needless to say (but, again, I’m going to say it), if that’s the case, be ready for these updates daily during that intense week.
Tampa Bay Rays
Overall record (through Sunday): 59-60
Last week: 1-5
This week: At Toronto Blue Jays (Mon.-Thu.); vs. Seattle Mariners (Fri.-Sun.)
To say the past week was a disappointment in Tampa Bay would be a massive understatement.
As recently as Wednesday, the Rays were tied for the second Wild Card slot. Now, they are two games back of the Angels with three teams stacked in between.
But that’s what a 1-5 week will do to you in such a competitive race.
To be fair, Tampa Bay had possibly the hardest schedule of the week. Two games at Boston and four at home against Cleveland—both division leaders—is no easy task.
Still, a truly playoff-caliber team would have scored more than nine total runs in those six games.
Overall record (through Sunday): 59-60
Last week: 2-4
This week: Vs. Baltimore Orioles (Mon.-Wed.); off Thursday; at Tampa Bay Rays (Fri.-Sun.)
Seattle might hold the key to how several teams rank come next Monday.
Aside from, obviously, holding their own fate in their hands, the Mariners will go a long way in determining the fate of the Orioles and Rays—whom they each play thrice this week.
Just ask the Angels.
After two wins in Oakland, Seattle returned home and promptly lost four straight games to Los Angeles. That sweep means the Angels would be in the playoffs if the season had ended on Sunday.
Where will Seattle be when we do the next update? Who knows, that’s the fun?
Kansas City Royals
Overall record (through Sunday): 59-58
Last week: 2-5
This week: At Oakland Athletics (Mon.-Wed.); off Thursday; vs. Cleveland (Fri.-Sun.)
More from Kings of Kauffman
- KC Royals Rumors: Is a monster move in the cards?
- KC Royals Free Agent Hunt: 3 Tampa Bay pitchers
- Grading the 2022 KC Royals: The $25 million man
- KC Royals Winter Meetings Tracker: Expectations met
- KC Royals Winter Meetings Tracker: Day 3 update
The trade with San Diego hasn’t worked out the way many thought it would, but bringing Melky Cabrera back sure has paid off.
His third home run since rejoining the Kansas City Royals gave his team a 5-4 win on Saturday night to snap a five-game skid. The team followed up that narrow victory with a venting of frustration in the form of a 14-6 beating on Sunday.
Those wins should not cover up the fact that this was a terrible week for the Kansas City Royals.
A fatigued bullpen couldn’t hold a lead for anything and a comeback cat (seriously nobody thought that was catchier than rally cat?) ruined a perfectly good game.
The hope is that a series win over the White Sox will carry some momentum into a three-game set with the A’s. However, it’s this weekend’s pivotal home series against Cleveland that most people will be looking forward to.
Overall record (through Sunday): 59-57
Last week: 6-1
This week: Off Monday; vs. Cleveland (Tue.-Thu.); vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (Fri.-Sun.)
What a week it has been for the Twins.
If it wasn’t for a complete collapse on Saturday, Minnesota would have had a perfect week and the second Wild Card spot at this point.
Instead the Twins will have to settle for a 6-1 mark—tied with the Angels for the best mark in the American League this week.
Still a pretty stellar week for a team that was 3.5 games behind the Kansas City Royals when our previous postseason update was posted.
The question will be if the Twins can replicate their performance in the coming days against two almost certain playoff teams in Cleveland and Arizona.