Four postseason spots have been clinched in the American League, meaning there’s only one spot left. Of course, there has to be a fight for this last spot or else what fun would the last week of the season be before postseason play? The Yankees and Red Sox are still fighting for the AL East but one of them will be hosting the wild card game, but who will they face?
Minnesota Twins (82-74, Lead 2nd Wild Card by 4.5 games)
To nobody’s surprise, the Twins swept a horribly bad Detroit Tigers team in a four-game series this weekend, getting closer and closer to clinching that last playoff spot in the American League. Not only did the starting pitchers do a phenomenal job but the offense scored double-digit runs in three of the four games.
After only winning 59 games last season, the team has shaped up drastically in an effort to snap a seven-year playoff drought. Minnesota will be a force in the American League over the course of the next few seasons as young stars like Byron Buxton and Eddie Rosario rise to stardom and young pitchers like Jose Berrios and Adalberto Mejia take on the front end of the starting rotation.
Los Angeles Angels (77-78, 4.5 games behind Minnesota)
The Angels snapped a poorly timed six-game losing streak Sunday night with a win over the Astros, saving their playoff hopes just barely. It's amazing that the Angels are even in the postseason conversation, considering their star outfielder, Mike Trout, missed six weeks of the season with a torn ligament in his thumb in late May.
The Angels and Twins were in a similar situation in 2015, with both teams missing the postseason on the final day of the season that year. The good news for the Angels is they start a four-game series with the White Sox this tonight, which could help them keep up with the Twins, who play the red-hot Indians in a three-game series starting today. Don't sleep on the Angels yet, but one loss to the White Sox will seriously damage their postseason hopes, especially if the Twins pick up a win against the Tribe.
Texas Rangers (76-79, 5.5 games behind Minnesota)
It's very unlikely the Rangers will play baseball next week after getting swept by the Oakland A's, who sit at the bottom of the AL West.
They took advantage of the Angels' struggles last week by sweeping the Seattle Mariners but couldn't come through against the A's, thus damaging their playoff hopes. They play their final seven games of the season at home, playing the Houston Astros for three and the A's for four, so if they can get back on track with a sweep of the Astros, or just win the series, there may be hope yet for the Rangers. Again, with Minnesota playing the Indians the Rangers shouldn't be counted out until someone officially clinches the final playoff spot in the American League.