The Tampa Bay Rays have won five games in a row to stay alive in the American League East and the AL Wild Card picture, while the Detroit Tigers and the Texas Rangers hold pretty healthy leads in the other two divisions of the Junior Circuit as we head into another week of Major League action.
Here is your latest look at the standings, as well as what the slate of the contenders looks like:
AL East Standings
The Yankees take their thinnest of leads to the field at home vs. the Oakland Athletics for a series beginning Tuesday night, while the Red Sox have a challenge heading into Texas to face the Rangers starting Monday. The Rays, who have won five in a row and refuse to go away, open a four-game series at home against the Tigers on Monday night.
AL Central Standings
|Kansas City||52||76||.406||17||Lost 1|
(updated 8.22.2011 at 11:30 AM EDT)
As noted above, the Tigers are in Tampa Bay for four games beginning on Monday, while the Indians play four games against Seattle in three days, with a day/night doubleheader on Tuesday against the Mariners. The White Sox, once again only a half-game back of the Indians, are out west starting Tuesday night to take on the Angels in Anaheim.
AL West Standings
|Los Angeles||69||59||.539||4||Won 4|
(updated 8.22.2011 at 11:32 AM EDT)
The Rangers host the Red Sox beginning Monday in what should be a barn-burner of a series in Texas, while the Angels host the Chicago White Sox beginning Tuesday night.
American League Wild Card Standings
|Tampa Bay||69||56||.552||7.5||Won 5|
|Los Angeles||69||59||.539||9||Won 4|
|Kansas City||52||76||.406||26||Lost 1|
(updated 8.22.2011 at 11:34 AM EDT)
As can be seen by a look at the Wild Card standings, it is more and more looking as if the East will hold two of the four American League playoff spots, although Tampa Bay and Los Angeles are still hanging on.
It is evident that the Indians will not be a Wild Card, so it is a simple scenario for Cleveland: win the Central or watch the postseason on T.V.
NL East Standings
|New York||60||66||.476||21.5||Lost 3|
(updated 8.22.2011 at 11:36 AM EDT)
The Braves are making a little run at the Phillies, although -- as in the American League -- it looks as if the East of the NL will have two playoff teams regardless of the division winner, as Atlanta holds a healthy lead for the Wild Card (see below). Philadelphia begins a series at home against the Mets on Monday, while Atlanta heads for Wrigley Field to face the Cubs.
NL Central Standings
|St. Louis||67||60||.527||8.5||Won 1|
(updated 8.22.2011 at 11:38 AM EDT)
The Brewers enjoy the largest lead in any division at present, and are in Pittsburgh vs, the Pirates beginning Monday, while the only other team that has a prayer will host the Dodgers when Los Angeles comes to St. Louis, also starting on Monday.
NL West Standings
|San Francisco||68||60||.531||1.5||Won 1|
|San Diego||59||70||.457||11||Won 4|
|Los Angeles||57||69||.452||11.5||Lost 2|
(updated 8.22.2011 at 11:41 AM EDT)
The Diamondbacks and the Giants have both struggled as of late, giving the Rockies the faintest breath of life for the postseason. Arizona begins the week in Washington against the Nationals, while San Francisco is at home vs. the Padres and Colorado is home to take on the Astros.
National League Wild Card Standings
|San Francisco||68||60||.531||8||Won 1|
|St. Louis||67||60||.527||8.5||Won 1|
|New York||60||66||.476||15||Lost 3|
|San Diego||59||70||.457||17.5||Won 4|
|Los Angeles||57||69||.452||18||Lost 2|
(updated 8.22.2011 at 11:43 AM EDT)
The National League Wild Card mirrors the AL, with three teams in the running but -- truly -- one team head and shoulders above the rest.
Thus in both leagues, it is fair to say that in the Central and West Divisions, it is win it or go home.
Check back on Friday when we update again with a look at what's happening entering the last weekend of August.