Updating and Predicting the AL Wild Card Race

After going 2-4 in their rigorous series with the Rays and White Sox, the Red Sox now hold the second Wild Card spot in the American League, with Toronto holding the first. Boston now sits just one game ahead of the Yankees for the second Wild Card spot, and three games in front of the Athletics and Mariners. The Red Sox will now travel to Seattle to face-off with the Mariners in a series that could have big playoff implications. 

What’s ahead? 

With the Wild Card narrowed down to just the Blue Jays, Red Sox, Yankees, Athletics, and Mariners, this is what the remaining schedule looks like for those squads. 

Toronto Blue Jays- vs Rays (3), vs Twins (3), @ Rays (3), @ Twins (4), vs Yankees (3), vs Orioles (3)

Boston Red Sox- @ Mariners (3), vs Orioles (3), vs Mets (2), vs Yankees (3), @ Orioles (3), @ Nationals (3)

New York Yankees- Vs Twins (1), @ Orioles (3), vs Indians (3), vs Rangers (3), @ Red Sox (3), @ Blue Jays (3), vs Rays (3)

Oakland Athletics- @ Royals (3), @ Angels (3), vs Mariners (4), vs Astros (3), @ Mariners (3), @ Houston (3)

Seattle Mariners- vs Red Sox (3), @ Royals (3), @ Athletics (4), @ Angels (3), vs Oakland (3), vs Angels (3)

AL West

The Athletics and Mariners are set to meet each other seven times before the end of the season. With the season series between the two at 7-5, these two very well could knock each other out of the Wild Card race. The two teams have been evenly matched this season, so it is unlikely one dominates the other in their remaining seven games. 

The Athletics also draw the unfortunate task of taking on the Houston Astros six times before the end of the season. Houston and Chicago and currently neck and neck to decide who will have home-field advantage for the ALDS. This means there will be no easy games for the Athletics when they see the Astros. 

The Mariners will see their division foe Los Angeles Angels six times before the season ends. In their 12 matchups this season, the Mariners lead the season series 7-5. The Angels have been tough for the Mariners this season, so their six games could be another factor that drops Seattle in the standings. 

The schedule is not in favor of the Mariners and Athletics moving forward. With both teams three games back of the second Wild Card spot, it is unlikely each team can catch up, IF the Red Sox take care of business in their series with the Mariners this week. If the Red Sox can take care of Seattle, Houston will do the rest with Oakland. 

AL East

The AL East is where things get interesting. The Blue Jays have clawed all the way back into things and now hold the number one spot in the Wild Card. Toronto is a team the Red Sox do not want to see. We have seen what the Blue Jays are capable of, beating up the Red Sox by double digit runs a few times this season.

This race will be tight all the way up until playoff time. As I stated in another recent article, the schedule is in the Red Sox favor once again, but they will need to capitalize.

The Blue Jays will play the first place Tampa Bay Rays six times before the end of the season. The Rays are 8-5 against Toronto this season. The Blue Jays will also see the Twins seven times before the end of the season, who have the ability to put up good offensive numbers.

The Yankees will see the Blue Jays and Rays, as well as come to Boston for a three game series. If the Red Sox hold up their end and capitalize on the schedule, they could be shaping up to land that number one spot. The Red Sox will need some help so they don’t have to see Toronto though.

Red Sox Have Something To Prove With Upcoming Schedule

The Red Sox currently have one of the best records in baseball. A team that may have been viewed as a long shot contender by some heading into the season, are now looking like viable contenders. The Red Sox will have a chance to prove they are contenders with their upcoming schedule. 

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Starting with the current series against the Blue Jays, the Red Sox will face four teams with 22 or more wins between now and June 16th. This includes three pivotal AL East series. Two are against the Blue Jays for a total of seven games, and one-three game series against the Yankees. 

Important AL East Match-ups

The AL East is shaping up to be a tight finish, with four out of the five teams within two games of each other. This will make every inter-series matchup crucial for the Red Sox if they want to keep pace in the AL East. 

The Red Sox will also see the Houston Astros, who currently sit at 24-18, and just a game and a half our first place in the AL West a total of seven times during this stretch. The Astros are starting to turn the corner as they have won seven of their last 10 games. 

NL East Talent Looms As Well

The Sox will get a taste of some of the NL East’s top teams as well. The Red Sox will kick off three-game against Bryce Harper and the Philadelphia Phillies on the road starting Friday, May 21st. The Phillies currently sit at 22-20, just one game behind the Mets for first place in the NL East. The Phillies have been dominant at home, posting a 14-6 record. 

The Red Sox will also face off against the Ronald Acuna and the underwhelming Atlanta Braves a total of four times. The Braves are loaded with talent but have surprisingly struggled. But this is a team that can flip the switch any night. Making this a series the Red Sox can not take lightly.

This is just the first part of what will be a grueling stretch for the Red Sox. The Red Sox schedule will be tough for the remainder of the season. A lot can happen between now and late June, so I didn’t want to touch on those summer matchups just yet. 

The Key For The Red Sox

If the Red Sox want to keep pace in the American League East during this stretch, the answer is simple. They can not afford to go on losing streaks. With the cast of talent, the Red Sox will see, and given how tight the division race will be, the Red Sox can not drop continuous games.