The American League wild card standings are absurdly close with a few weeks remaining in the baseball season. At the moment, there are six teams within 3.5 games of the Minnesota Twins, who hold the second wild card position. Five of those chasers have 71 victories, and at one point yesterday four of them were .500 for the year.
The second wild card is a blessing for baseball, especially when you consider the lack of excitement in the division races this season. The American League East and National League Central are the only divisions where teams lead by less than 9.0 games. The Washington Nationals clinched their division yesterday, and the Los Angeles Dodgers would be in the postseason by now if they didn’t miraculously lose ten straight. It is ridiculous that the Arizona Diamondbacks have won 16 of 19, while LA has lost 15 of 16, and yet the Dodgers still have a 9.0 game lead.
The wild card race in the American League is still too cluttered to try and follow. There are too many teams playing each other, and any of the eight teams could re-position themselves before October baseball. We could have tiebreaker games for teams to play in the tiebreaker game! It is still very possible for three teams to reach the postseason from the same division–and that’s true for any of the three divisions. Check out the crazy standings.
Eliminate the second wild card, and the only race to follow in the American League is whether the Yankees can catch the Red Sox (3.5 back), or if one of the wild card contenders catch the Yankees (Minnesota is 3.5 back). The difference in drama with a a couple of weeks left is remarkable, as the second wild card is by far the best recent adjustment MLB has made.