Breaking down the race for the AL’s second Wild Card

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Yesterday the Astros, Angels, and Twins all won while the Rangers lost, so the three-team race for the American League’s second Wild Card spot is dangerously close to becoming a four-team race.

Texas’ lead in the American League West is down to 1.5 games over Houston and 2.0 games over Anaheim. Meanwhile, the Astros are hanging onto the second Wild Card spot with a 0.5-game lead over the Angels and a 1.5-game lead over the Twins.

All three of the Astros, Angels, and Twins are currently on winning streaks of at least three games and thanks to this David Murphy walk-off single last night the Angels are on a six-game streak:

[mlbvideo id=”507832283″ width=”400″ height=”224″ /]

There are a bunch of different (and complicated) scenarios for ties and the division lead changing hands, but here’s the basic breakdown according to FanGraphs’ playoff odds:

Texas is still 66 percent favorites to win the division, followed by the Astros at 19 percent and the Angels at 15 percent. If they don’t win the division the Rangers are given a 20 percent chance of grabbing the second Wild Card spot, meaning they’re at 86 percent to make the playoffs overall with six games remaining on the schedule.

Looking strictly at the other contenders for the second Wild Card spot, the Astros are at 53 percent, the Angels are at 22 percent, and the Twins are at 5 percent. Minnesota could keep winning and still not make up enough ground just because time is running out. For instance, despite winning yesterday the Twins’ playoff odds actually went down because the Astros and Angels both won and 24 hours vanished.
Here are the remaining schedules:
Rangers: 2 vs Tigers, 4 vs Angels
Astros: 2 at Mariners, 3 at Diamondbacks
Angels: 2 vs A’s, 4 at Rangers
Twins: 3 at Indians, 3 vs Royals

All of that is probably confusing, but it should make for an interesting final week and the season-ending four-game series between the Rangers and Angels in Texas could make or break everything.