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Detroit Tigers links: Breaking down the AL playoff race

Taking a look at the AL playoff picture with #ProtectThePick in full effect.

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Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

While the number of possible teams participating in the 2015 American League playoffs has basically been whittled down to seven (sorry Cleveland), plenty of possible playoff match ups remain.

In the AL West, the Houston Astros' division lead is down to a half game over the Texas Rangers with six games remaining between the teams. The two series will most likely decide who wins the division. That said, the Los Angeles Angels, left for dead six weeks earlier, continue to hang around not only the wildcard conversation (3 games out) but still have an outside shot at the division (4.5 games).

The Kansas City Royals locked up the AL Central a long time ago, but recent poor form has put their league-best record and home field advantage at risk. They now stand only two games up on the blazing Toronto Blue Jays for the top spot in the AL.

The aforementioned Blue Jays seem to be running further away with the AL East than they actually are, as the Yankees are hanging around at three games back. However, it would take a monumental effort from a team that is now without its revived first baseman and its second-most productive pitcher.

Barring the Rangers or Yankees over-taking their division leaders, they will jockey with the Minnesota Twins and Angels for the final two wild card berths. Despite being a game back of the second spot, Minnesota appears to have the easiest schedule down the stretch, but the Tigers will get to play spoiler. The Yankees will have to take care of their own division opponents including an intriguing four-game set with the recently hot Red Sox (16-8 in their last 24 games).

It's probable that two of the three divisions are already decided, but there is plenty of movement that can happen over the final month of the season. Follow relevant AL and NL playoff info at SBNation keyword MLB Playoffs.

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Mike Maroth will not be back as Mud Hens pitching coach - Detroit News, Lynn Henning
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Ian Krol learning to avoid being 'timid,' trust stuff - Detroit Free Press, George Sipple
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Analyzing the Strike Zone as a Three-Dimensional Volume – The Hardball Times, Eric Lang
Interesting look at the strike zone and late breaking pitches. Initial presentation was at the 2015 Saber Seminar.

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H/T to mostinterestingdude on reddit for this very telling picture.