2021 MLB AL Wild Card Race Update

2021 AL Wild Card race

In just a few weeks’ time, the American League Wild Card race suddenly got very interesting, with five teams neck-and-neck and still jockeying for one of the two Wild Card spots as we speak. Three of those teams are from the hotly-contested AL East, and two of them are from the equally imposing AL West.

Let’s take a closer look at the American League Wild Card race and what it means for the teams still involved in the hunt for a playoff berth. And for even more baseball coverage and all the latest news across the sporting world, head on over to Nitrogen Sports Blog after this.

2021 MLB Season: AL Wild Card Race Update 

Toronto Blue Jays

Record as of September 13: 81-63
Game(s) Behind a Wild Card spot: +0.5

No team in baseball has been on a tremendous roll like the Blue Jays, who were previously five games behind the final AL Wild Card spot before going on a 12-1 tear. They’re fresh off a dominant 8-1 victory over the Blue Jays Monday to start one of two three-game sets against the AL East division leaders.

Toronto is eight games behind the Rays for the AL East pennant, and winning all six games against Tampa Bay could have the Jays surprisingly closer to stealing the division lead with ample time to spare. Just how much can these Blue Jays sustain their success with other division rivals still breathing down their necks?

Boston Red Sox

Record as of September 13: 81-64
Game(s) Behind a Wild Card spot:

A 6-6 record in September has pretty much kept the Red Sox afloat in the Wild Card race, but now it’s time for Alex Cora and his boys to make a strong push to close out the season. They’ll be given a great opportunity to do so, with a couple of series against the lowly Orioles dates against the underachieving Mets and Nationals on tap.

What’ll be even more crucial to the race is Boston’s three-game set at home against the Yankees towards the end of the month. After winning their first seven meetings this season, the Sox have since gone 3-6 against the Yanks.

New York Yankees

Record as of September 13: 80-64
Game(s) Behind a Wild Card spot: 0.5

Heading in the opposite direction, meanwhile, are the Yankees, who are a dismal 4-12 over their last 16 games. New York’s pitching has taken a nosedive during this stretch, allowing an average of 6.17 runs to the opposition across those 12 defeats.

Thankfully, the Bronx Bombers are about to enter a string of three-game series against the O’s, Indians, and Rangers; all winnable matchups. However, they’ll close out their 2021 campaign having to run into their divisional and Wild Card race rivals in the Red Sox, Blue Jays, and Rays in succession. This means they need to pad up wins against their weaker opponents ahead lest they find themselves out of the playoff picture altogether. 

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Oakland Athletics

Record as of September 13: 77-66
Game(s) Behind a Wild Card spot: 3.0

The Athletics still have a decent shot at making the AL Wild Card Game, but they’ll also need a little help from some internal strife between the AL East teams above them in the standings. What’s not helping Oakland’s cause, though, is that the team isn’t able to sustain success for long periods of time.

Instead, the A’s are coming off back-to-back defeats as we speak and just went through a four-game skid before winning three straight games last week. Their remaining schedule is pretty brutal as well. After brief sojourns against the Royals and the Angels, they’ll be ending their season with a couple of sets against the Astros and Mariners, with the latter also being in the playoff hunt.

Seattle Mariners

Record as of September 13: 77-66
Game(s) Behind a Wild Card spot: 3.0

Do the Mariners have what it takes to make a late playoff push and finally snap their seemingly eternal postseason drought? They certainly got off to a great start this month by winning five straight games, but they’ve since gone 4-2, losing two sets against Houston and lowly Arizona. Only one team from the AL West could possibly advance to the Wild Card round at that, as the M’s and the A’s will be facing each other seven more times this month.

Seattle’s remaining schedule is much lighter than Oakland, with a date against the Royals and the A’s and Angels capping off their season with a pair of series apiece. However, what’s probably the most crucial stretch for the M’s is already at hand, as their three-game set against the Red Sox beginning this Tuesday could already decide their playoff fate. 

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