Re-setting the American League’s second Wild Card race

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It’s time to check back in on the American League’s second Wild Card race, which is basically the only playoff spot up for grabs in either league.

There’s still a slim chance that the Rangers could self-destruct and go from winning the AL West division to grabbing the second Wild Card spot, but short of that happening it’s a three-team race among the Astros, Angels, and Twins.

Yesterday the Twins split a doubleheader with the Indians, the Angels lost to an AL-worst A’s team that started Barry Zito in his career sendoff, and the Astros escaped Seattle with a win against the Mariners.

Standings!

Astros: 84-75, — GB
Angels: 83-75, 0.5 GB
Twins: 82-76, 1.5 GB

Here’s where FanGraphs sees the current Wild Card odds with four days to go in the regular season:

Astros – 65%
Angels – 25%
Twins – 4%

That leaves 6% remaining, which belongs to the Rangers in case they tumble out of the division lead. And that’s still possible because the Rangers finish the season with a four-game series versus the Angels, in Texas.

Here are the remaining schedules:

Astros: 3 at Diamondbacks
Angels: 4 at Rangers
Twins: 1 at Indians, 3 vs Royals

They’re all fighting for a chance to play the Wild Card game against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium, the winner of which goes on to play the AL-best Blue Jays or Royals in the ALDS.

Donaldson ejected for kicking dirt on plate after home run

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Minnesota’s Josh Donaldson managed to get ejected while hitting a home run.

Donaldson barked at plate umpire Dan Bellino for the second time in the sixth inning of a 4-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Thursday.

With the score 2-2, Bellino called a strike when the 2015 AL MVP checked his swing on a 2-0 pitch from Reynaldo Lopez.

Manager Rocco Baldelli came out to speak with Bellino, and Donaldson homered down the left-field line on the next offering. After rounding the bases, Donaldson kicked dirt at home plate as he crossed it.

Bellino ejected him immediately, and Donaldson, realizing he had missed home plate, returned to the plate to touch it and then argued as he kicked more dirt on it.

Donaldson also had argued with Bellino on a 1-1 breaking ball in the first inning that appeared to be high but was called a strike, leading to a strikeout.

“We need Josh on the field, out there playing, and at third base,” Baldelli said. “That’s when we’re at our best. And so that’s really the end of it. I think we can move past it at his point, and go from here.”

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