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American League playoff race weekly recap: September 6th-11th

Covering another busy week for the Wild Card chasers in the AL.

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

There are only three weeks left before the end of the regular season, and with each game that passes, the next one becomes more important. Those that are on the outside looking in on the playoff picture are seeing their window close ever so slowly.

The American League is certainly delivering in excitement, surprises and just pure entertainment, as there are five teams separated by just a few games in the Wild Card race. It’s an extremely tight race, but just two of those ballclubs will advance to postseason play. For those of you that didn’t quite catch everything, here’s what happened during the past week. This time around, results will be as of the end of play on Saturday since the Yankees are the late game on Sunday.

With the Rays and Astros taking a page from the White Sox book and way out in front of their respective divisions, we’ve removed them from the recap. This week, we’ll take a look at:

AL East:

Boston Red Sox

New York Yankees

Toronto Blue Jays

AL West:

Houston Astros

Seattle Mariners

Oakland Athletics

Boston Red Sox (81-63)

Playoff Status: 1st in AL Wild Card

Weekly Record: 2-3

Hunter Renfroe played the hero on Wednesday in the 2-1 win against the Rays to prevent the sweep, but that didn’t do much to take away the bitter taste of the disaster on Labor Day. Leading 7-1 with Chris Sale on the mound, Boston conceded a huge comeback and lost 12-11 in extras.

The weekend series didn’t start off well either, as they fell by one run to the White Sox on Friday and already lost Sale for his Sunday start due to COVID. The Red Sox leave Chicago for the Northwest for a pivotal series against the Wild Card rival Mariners before returning home to face the last-place Orioles.

New York Yankees (79-63)

Playoff Status: 2nd in AL Wild Card

Weekly Record: 1-5

Since we last checked in, the Yankees have known almost nothing but defeat. The ballclub actually managed to disappoint even the most pessimistic fans out there, falling to the Blue Jays four straight times at home without ever even holding a lead.

Jordan Montgomery also got shelled to begin the Subway Series en route to a 10-3 loss. After dropping seven in a row, the club finally pulled out a win, edging out the Mets 8-7 to get back in the win column. At least Gerrit Cole seems to be on his way back, and boy do they need him now more than ever.

Next week, New York will play a make-up game with the Twins before traveling to Baltimore for a date with the Orioles and then returning home to play Cleveland.

Toronto Blue Jays (79-63)

Playoff Status: Tied for Second AL Wild Card

Weekly Record: 5-1

At the end of last month, the Jays seemed destined to fall short of a return to October despite boasting a very talented squad. Instead, Toronto has surged back into relevance, with the Jays demolishing the A’s pitching staff for 29 runs over three games this past weekend, before capping things off with a four-game sweep at Yankee Stadium, allowing a mere eight runs over the course of the set.

A Friday loss against the Orioles snapped the eight-game winning streak and dampened the mood somewhat, but after looking dead in the water, the Jays still have every chance to pull off a massive comeback, with a homestand coming up with three apiece against the Rays and Twins.

Seattle Mariners (77-65)

Playoff Status: Tied for 4th in AL Wild Card (2.0 GB)

Weekly Record: 2-3

The Seattle Mariners live to fight another day. Their -52 run differential indicates that they shouldn’t even be here, yet they are and to their credit, they refuse to go away. The team lost two out of three against the Astros but bounced back by beating Madison Bumgarner and the D-Backs on Friday to crawl within a game of the second Wild Card spot, though they did drop one to Arizona last night.

The M’s will get a chance to make some noise as they’ll finish their homestand with three versus the Red Sox. With three weeks left to play Seattle, a first playoff appearance since 2001 is well within striking distance, and that in itself is a newsworthy accomplishment.

Oakland Athletics (77-65)

Playoff Status: Tied for 4th in AL Wild Card (2.0 GB)

Weekly Record: 3-2

A sweep at the hands of the Blue Jays drew caused a lot of understandable concern, but the A’s responded by winning the series against the White Sox at home and splitting a pair with the Texas Rangers.

A road trip awaits against two teams out of contention — the Royals and Angels — before facing down the division rival Mariners seven times during the last two weeks.