Where the National League Wild Card battle is now a three-way tie for the two spotsfollowing Tuesday night action, the American League Wild Card fight has six teams who are legitimately within striking distance.
Much as with the NL, those fighting for the AL spots have little chance at taking their respective divisional crowns.
In the AL East, the Boston Red Sox control the race, leading the Toronto Blue Jays by four games with just 11 left to play.
Out in the AL West, the Texas Rangers have the biggest lead of all with a nearly 10-game bulge over the interstate rival Houston Astros, who are 9.5 games behind. The Rangers can clinch as early as tonight.
In the AL Central, the Cleveland Indians hold a seven-game lead on the Detroit Tigers with a dozen left to play. The Tribe have lowered their ‘Magic Number’ to 5 for clinching the crown.
But the Wild Card race in the league has the six remaining ball clubs separated by just three games in the loss column, all still with a legitimate shot at reaching the postseason.
The Blue Jays lead the race with an 83-68 mark, and their division rivals in the AL East, the Baltimore Orioles, control the 2nd Wild Card with an 82-69 record.
Lurking just a half-game behind the O’s, one game in the loss column, are the Tigers. The Astros sit two back in the standings and the loss column.
And two more clubs sit just a notch still further back. The Seattle Mariners trail Baltimore by three in the standings and loss column, while the New York Yankees also remain alive. The Yanks are 3.5 game back, but just three in that loss column.
The bottom line is that any quick 2-3 game win or loss streak can completely turn this race on its head, tightening it up even further, or eliminating a couple of the teams by this weekend.
Let’s take a look at each of those six teams involved in the race, breaking down their remaining schedule and sizing up their chances.