Kansas City Royals: Sixth Postseason Picture Update

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 10: Brandon Moss /
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BOSTON, MA – SEPTEMBER 10: Lucas Duda /

Running out of Time

These teams aren’t too far behind the group right in front of them. However, with the dwindling number of games remaining and the sheer number of teams ahead of them, this trio of teams has a much smaller margin for error than its competition.

With as tight as this Wild Card race has been, it’s no coincidence that most of the teams on this list suffered the worst weeks of those in the chase. They have time to turn it around—all are within 3.5 or three games of the second Wild Card holder—but not much of it.

Tampa Bay Rays

Overall record (through Sunday): 71-73

Last week: 3-3

This week: Vs. New York Yankees (Mon.-Wed. at New York Mets due to Hurricane Irma); off Thursday; vs. Boston Red Sox (Fri.-Sun.)

Tampa Bay had one of the toughest schedules among contenders this past week. The Rays hosted the Twins and visited the Red Sox—two of the five teams currently in a playoff spot.

Unfortunately, the schedule only gets harder from here. This week it’s three-game sets with the Yankees and the Red Sox. Does the schedule get easier after this gauntlet, you ask?

No, it doesn’t. The Rays close the season against the Cubs (two games), Orioles (four games), Yankees (three games) and Orioles (three games). If Tampa Bay makes the playoffs, it will have surely earned it.

Besides the unforgiving schedule, Mother Nature—namely Hurricane Irma—is creating another obstacle for the team to overcome. The massive storm has forced the Rays-Yankees series to move from Tropicana Field to Citi Field (home of the New York Mets) where Tampa Bay will play as the home team. It’s too soon to know if the weekend series against Boston will be moved.

Seattle Mariners

Overall record (through Sunday): 71-72

Last week: 2-4

This week: At Texas Rangers (Mon.-Thu.); at Houston Astros (Fri.-Sun.)

Seattle has been unable to string together enough wins to truly challenge Minnesota, but the Mariners have also pulled off enough wins to keep the Twins in their sights.

Over the past three weeks, Seattle has followed the pattern of winning one and losing one series each week. It’s not the kind of pattern that results in a postseason bid when the standings are this cluttered.

This past week, the Mariners suffered a sweep at the hands of the Astros before taking two of three against the Angels. Based on how fluky things have been in the West Division, I’ll guess Seattle loses its series with Texas this week and wins its series in Houston.

Regardless, seven road games will make for a tough week and could see the Mariners fall further out of the race.

Baltimore Orioles

Overall record (through Sunday): 71-72

Last week: 1-5

This week: At Toronto Blue Jays (Mon.-Wed.); at New York Yankees (Thu.-Sun.)

It’s hard not to feel bad for the Orioles when you see they faced the Yankees and the scorching-hot team from Cleveland this past week.

Last Monday, the Orioles were right behind the Twins in the Wild Card standings. Baltimore and Los Angeles were jointly 1.5 games back of Minnesota. Now, even after the Twins’ rough week, the Orioles find themselves with four teams to leap past to grab the second Wild Card slot.

The schedule is a little kinder this week with Toronto replacing Cleveland, but New York is still on the docket. The Orioles should be encouraged, I suppose, to have kept things close in four of their five losses last week. But at this point, there really are no moral victories.

With no days off until Sept. 25, Baltimore will need to rebound quickly from a disappointing week. If the Orioles can’t, they could be forced to face a truly uphill climb behind another team or two next Monday.