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American League playoff race weekly recap: September 20th-25th

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Another week in the books and the Wild Card prognosis remains unclear.

MLB: New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Seven days. That’s all that separates us from the end of the 2021 MLB regular season. Five teams remain alive for a chance to play that one-game AL Wild Card showdown.

We’ve got you covered with everything that happened over the last week with the Yankees, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Mariners, and Athletics. As is always the case when the Yankees are the Sunday Night Baseball game, the results will only be through the end of play on Saturday.

AL Wild Card:

Boston Red Sox

New York Yankees

Toronto Blue Jays

Seattle Mariners

Oakland Athletics

Boston Red Sox (88-67)

Weekly Record: 2-2

The Red Sox started the week as red-hot winners of their last five and they continued that run by taking both games of a two-game set against the New York Mets, scoring a combined 10 runs against Marcus Stroman and Taijuan Walker.

The long-awaited series versus the Yankees was next on the schedule and a pitching matchup of Nathan Eovaldi and Gerrit Cole opened the proceedings on Friday,. You know what they say — sixth time’s the charm. The Yankees offense put up a seven spot on Eovaldi, equaling their runs total off Eovaldi in his previous five starts against the Yankees this season (31.1 IP). A bad night from the bullpen led to another loss last night, knotting up the top of the Wild Card race.

After this series, the Red Sox finish out the year with a light load. They’re on the road, but they’ll be facing the last-place Orioles and Nationals for three apiece.

New York Yankees (88-67)

Weekly Record: 5-0

After allowing 22 runs in two games versus Cleveland, this team responded in the best way that it could, sweeping the Texas Rangers with a big highlight to the bullpen that pitched 12.1 scoreless innings during the series that could’ve been closer with a more pedestrian performance from the Yankees relievers.

Gerrit Cole also responded if not with a dominant at the very least serviceable outing that did the job to take the first one from Boston, and Giancarlo Stanton’s grand slam helped them win their fifth game in a row last night.

The Yankees finish out their road trip with three in Toronto before coming back to New York for a series with the Tampa Bay Rays to cap off their regular season.

Toronto Blue Jays (86-69; 2 GB)

Weekly Record: 2-4

What an enigmatic team. Just when you believe that they won’t be stopped, the Jays hit a skid, losing four out of their last five.

Toronto lost two out of three at Tampa and the first couple of games to the Minnesota Twins, including a 3-1 defeat with former Twin José Berrios striking out 10 only to be failed by his potent offense. Toronto did counter on Saturday with a 6-1 victory.

Following the four-game set with the Twins, Toronto returns home to play the Yankees and Orioles.

Seattle Mariners (85-70; 2 GB)

Weekly Record: 5-1

The Seattle Mariners had a date with the Oakland A’s to play four to begin the week. The team left Oakland stunned with their first four-game sweep on the road against the A’s in franchise history. That made the two teams swap places in the Wild Card race.

The M’s then provided us with one of the coolest moments of the week on Friday when Scott Servais opted to intentionally walk Shohei Ohtani with the bases empty, one out and up by one run in the ninth inning. All turned out well, but not without a little drama as that intentional walk was followed by a double and another intentional walk. Jack Mayfield struck out and José Rojas grounded out to end Seattle’s sixth win in a row. (The streak was broken in a 14-1 blowout loss on Saturday.)

The M’s will now play the A’s and Angels once again — this time in Seattle to end the season.

Oakland A’s (84-71; 4 GB)

Weekly Record: 2-4

With four back and only a week left to play, the A’s quite literally need a miracle after the team just got buried in Seattle to begin the week.

The ballclub bounced back with a commanding 14-2 win at the expense of the Lance McCullers Jr.-led Houston Astros, and they won again on Saturday. However, at this point, it may very well may be too little too late.

Oakland finishes the year on the road with three at Seattle and Houston. This team will likely be undone by its pitiful start and finish.