By Brad Carroll
The New York Yankees had a productive Wednesday in their chase for the final wild card spot, coming from behind to beat the Tampa Bay Rays in a must-win game and getting three of the four teams ahead of them in the postseason race to lose. It's the kind of day the Yankees need to repeat several times over the next several games.
The Yankees pulled a game closer to the Tigers and knocked off a game from the Athletics as well, who sit in the top wild card spot. Oakland has a 1.5 game lead over the Tigers and a six-game lead over the Yankees. The Tigers lead the Mariners by a half-game, the Blue Jays by 3.5 games and the Yankees and Indians, which had their game postponed Wednesday, by 4.5 games for the final spot.
Here is a breakdown of those in the wild card hunt and what needs to happen for the Yankees to make up ground as the season comes to its end.
Oakland Athletics: The Athletics, who have lost six of their last eight games, finish off a four-game series at the White Sox this afternoon. The A's have lost two of the first three games. They have a two-game cushion to remain in postseason position with 17 games remaining.
Detroit Tigers: The Tigers drop into the wild card race after losing to the Royals Wednesday night, allowing Kansas City to take the AL Central lead. That race is far from over, but for now, the Tigers are the team everyone in the wild card hunt is chasing. The Tigers won two of three from the Royals, but sit a game back in the division race. Detroit is off today and has 16 games remaining.
Seattle Mariners: The Yankees and everyone in the wild card race needs to thank the Astros for taking two of three games from the Mariners. Seattle could have taken over the second wild card spot, but lost to Houston Wednesday night. The Mariners have the day off today and have 17 games left. They play the Athletics next.
Toronto Blue Jays: Toronto has gone 9-2 over its last 11 games, including four victories in a row, to move 3.5 games within a playoff spot. The Blue Jays gained a game in the standings Wednesday night after finishing off a three-game sweep of the Cubs. Toronto is off today before playing three games at home against Tampa Bay. The Blue Jays have 17 games left.
Cleveland Indians: The Indians had their game against Minnesota last night postponed, so they will play a doubleheader today at home against the Twins. The Indians are 4.5 games back of the Tigers and tied with the Yankees. Cleveland has 19 games remaining on the schedule.
New York Yankees: The Yankees got a much-needed victory over Tampa Bay last night, knocking a game off in the standings on the A's, Tigers and Mariners, a half-game on the Indians, and keeping pace with the Blue Jays. The Yankees are 4.5 games back of Detroit with 19 to play. They can make up a quick half-game with a victory tonight against the Rays, as Detroit, Seattle and Toronto all have a day off. Yankees fans need to root for the White Sox to beat the Athletics and the Twins to sweep a doubleheader from the Indians tonight. If all goes right, the Yankees will head into Friday's games four games back of the second wild card.