The hot Orioles and cold Yankees are making the AL wild-card race interesting

With a little more than one month to go in the 2017 regular season, the AL wild-card race has emerged as the most interesting postseason race in baseball. Five of the six division races are separated by at least five games, and the NL wild-card race is heating up, though it’s not quite neck-and-neck yet. There is limited excitement out there.

In the AL, the top four wild-card hopefuls are now separated by only three games in the loss column. The Orioles erased a 6-2 deficit to beat the fading Mariners (BAL 8, SEA 7) on Wednesday thanks to Jonathan Schoop, who plated the go-ahead run in the bottom of the eighth. It was his 99th RBI of the season and it gave the O’s their seventh straight win.

While that was going on in Camden Yards, the Yankees were busy getting swept by the Indians in a doubleheader at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday afternoon (CLE 2, NYY 1; CLE 9, NYY 4). The O’s, who looked to be on their way out of the race a week ago, made up three games in the wild-card race in three days. They got hot while the Yankees ran cold.

Here are the updated AL wild card standings:

W-L

Run Differential

Games Back

Yankees

70-62

+125

+1.5

Twins

68-63

-26

Angels

68-65

+6

1.0

Orioles

68-65

-17

1.0

Not exactly a race between juggernauts here — the Yankees lead the wild-card race and are on pace for 86 wins — but it’s a race nonetheless. Four teams within three games in the loss column? That’s pretty much all a chaos-loving baseball fan could hope for heading into September. 

Keep in mind four other teams (Rangers, Royals, Rays, Mariners) are within six games of the Yankees in the loss column, so they’re not out of it either. For all intents and purposes though, this is starting to look like a four-team race, with the Yankees and Twins trying to hold off the Angels and Orioles.

Here are their remaining strength of schedules:

  • Angels: .517 opponent’s winning percentage the rest of the season …

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