With so many teams in the thick of this year’s AL Wild Card race, it can be tough to keep your scoreboard watching straight. Fear not, though: Bless You Boys has you covered. Over the last two weeks of the season we will update you on the ups and downs of the AL playoff picture, and how each contending team fared on a regular basis.
Josh Donaldson and Ezequiel Carrera homered for Toronto, and Aaron Sanchez struck out 10 batters over six innings to give the Jays a victory over the Orioles. In a showdown between the two teams currently holding wild card playoff positions, Sanchez moved his record to 14-2 on the season and dropped his ERA to 3.06, which is second only to Michael Fulmer in the American League. Carrera went 2-for-3, scored three runs and drove in a pair from the leadoff spot in place of the injured Devon Travis. All five of the Jays' runs were scored against Orioles starter Kevin Gausmann. The two teams will play each other twice more this week.
Impact: Toronto moves to two games up on the Orioles for the first wild card position while Baltimore falls to just one game ahead of Detroit for the second and final playoff spot. The Jays also clinch home field over Baltimore in case a tiebreaker is needed.
The Astros scored six runs in the sixth inning on two errors and five hits off Felix Hernandez to give Houston a come from behind victory over Seattle. The 10 hits and eight runs (four earned) were both season highs allowed by King Felix. George Springer had three hits including a two-run double for the Astros. Houston starter Mike Fiers gave up the four Seattle runs on eight hits in five innings. The two teams play one more game in Houston on Wednesday.
Impact: Seattle falls two games behind Baltimore and one game behind Detroit in the standings, while the Astros move to 2 1/2 games behind the Orioles for the final wild card playoff spot.
Kansas City Royals 4, Minnesota Twins 3 (F/11)
A sacrifice fly in the 11th inning helped the Royals fight off elimination with a victory over the Twins in Kansas City. Raul Mondesi walked, stole second, and was sacrificed to third by Jarrod Dyson before scoring on a fly ball by Billy Burns to give the Royals a win. Seventeen pitchers were used by both teams, nine by Minnesota and eight by Kansas City. Each starter allowed three runs apiece before 14 relief pitchers did not allow a run to score until the 11th inning.
Impact: Kansas City remains five games behind Baltimore for the final playoff spot with five games to play.
The Yankees scored six runs off David Price as New York delayed Boston's celebration and snapped the Red Sox's eleven game winning streak with a victory at Yankee Stadium. Rookie Gary Sanchez hit his 20th home run for New York, while David Ortiz went 0-for-5 for Boston. Boston's magic number to clinch their division remains at one as the Blue Jays also won.
Impact: New York is four games behind Baltimore with five to play. They host the Orioles this weekend. Boston is one-half game behind the Texas Rangers and one-half game ahead of the Cleveland Indians for the best record in the American League and home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
- The New York Mets defeated the Miami Marlins by a score of 12-1 to maintain their lead in the National league wild card race. The San Francisco Giants beat the Colorado Rockies to remain one-half game behind New York and the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Cincinnati Reds to stay one game behind the Giants. The three divisions have all been clinched, while one team from each division is battling for the two wild card playoff berths.
- The Texas Rangers have the smallest run differential of any team in playoff position in the American league despite having the league's best record. The Rangers have scored just eight more runs than they have allowed this season. Their pythagorean win-loss record is 79-78.
- The Orioles, who play their remaining games away from Camden Yards, are 35-41 on the road. The Indians loss at Detroit leaves them at .500 on the road, at 38-38.