The American League Playoff Race Is Basically Over and It’s Not Even August

Only two teams are battling for a playoff spot — the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics.

Dustin Fowler #11 of the Oakland Athletics gets caught attempting to steal second base tagged out by Gordon Beckham #1 of the Seattle Mariners in the bottom of the eighth inning at the Oakland Alameda Coliseum on May 23, 2018 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Dustin Fowler #11 of the Oakland Athletics gets caught attempting to steal second base tagged out by Gordon Beckham #1 of the Seattle Mariners in the bottom of the eighth inning at the Oakland Alameda Coliseum on May 23, 2018 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
By Evan Bleier / July 25, 2018 5:00 am

Unless you’re a fan of the Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, Houston Astros, New York Yankees, Seattle Mariners or Oakland Athletics, you basically have no reason to pay attention to the American League.

It’s not even August yet, but those six teams are the only ones in the AL that realistically have a chance of making the playoffs. A few of them have all but locked up their spot.

Heading into Tuesday night’s games, the first-place Red Sox, Indians, and Astros all have a lead of at least five games on their divisional opponents. According to FanGraphs projections, those three teams all have odds of at least 99.5 percent to make the playoffs. The Yankees, who are leading the Wild Card standings, also have odds over 99 percent to make the playoffs.

That means that the only teams who are really battling for their postseason lives are the Mariners and Athletics, not exactly a compelling playoff race. Even worse, between those two teams, the race may not even actually end up being a close one.

“At best, Oakland should keep pace with Seattle over the rest of the season, but it’s doubtful the A’s can overtake the M’s, making the Mariners the most likely winner of the final AL wild-card race,” according to The Washington Post.

The biggest reason for this is that there are a ton of tanking teams in baseball, especially in the American League. In fact, outside of the six squads mentioned above, there’s only one other team in the AL with a record over .500 (Tampa Bay Rays).

Just another reason to tune into the NL — besides the comedy of watching pitchers hit.

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