September is here and the AL wild card race 2021 is as close as ever.
There are five teams that are eyeing two playoff spots. Those teams are the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Seattle Mariners, Oakland Athletics and Toronto Blue Jays. None of these teams have a real shot at their respective divisions, so an AL wild card spot will have to do.
But who will win the AL wild card race and get those two spots in the playoffs?
AL wild card race 2021
The teams in the AL wild card race are separated by just four games, with the Yankees and Red Sox tied and in the two playoff spots as of right now. The Mariners are just 3 games back, the Blue Jays are 3.5 and the A’s are 4.
The Yankees and A’s have been slipping as of late. The Red Sox are trying to stay afloat after a post-Wild Card break collapse. However, the Blue Jays and Mariners have been hot as of late. It’s shaping to be a fight for the finish.
Here’s the two teams I believe will win the two spots in the AL wild card race 2021.
Coming at arguably the worst time, the Red Sox have been hit hard with COVID. After struggling coming out of the gate after the All-Star break, the Red Sox have placed 11 players on the COVID list. That list includes All Stars Xander Bogaerts and Matt Barnes, starting pitcher Nick Pivetta, utility man Kike Hernandez and rookie outfielder Jarren Duran.
With that said, the Red Sox have managed to hold onto a Wild Card spot despite all of this. They are expected to get some of these players back within the next week or two. In September, they managed to split a four-game series with the Rays in Tampa and won a series against the Cleveland Indians. Now, the Sox have a three-game set with the Rays back in Boston.
As long as the Red Sox are in a Wild Card spot when guys like Bogaerts and Pivetta come back, they’ll be just fine.
The Red Sox are missing a handful of players. pic.twitter.com/s3Iu4kOkzm
— Bally Sports Sun: Rays (@BallyRays) September 6, 2021
I think they drastically overperformed the first half of the season. They were in first in the AL East for a while, but have lost it to the Rays. The division is out of reach at this point, but the Red Sox have an easier schedule than most the rest of the way. Included in the rest of the schedule is six games against the Baltimore Orioles and three against the Washington Nationals. Pivotal three-games series for the Red Sox will be against the Yankees and the Mariners.
That’s right. Not the Mariners. Not the A’s. No, not even the Yankees. The Blue Jays will get the second and final Wild Card spot.
Toronto is 8-2 in its last 10 games, coming off an 8-0 throttling of the Yankees on Monday. The team should be a playoff team.
They have a high-power offense with Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and Teoscar Hernandez. The starting pitching features Hyun Jin Ryu, Cy Young candidate Robbie Ray and rookie Alek Manoah. What could be their demise is the bullpen. The Blue Jays were in trouble when Kirby Yates was hurt before the season started and since then, have no consistency in the pen. It’s not the worst in the AL, but it is far from the best.
The Blue Jays have the easiest schedule out of any of the teams still in the wild card hunt.
They have seven games against the Orioles and seven against the Minnesota Twins. They also have six games apiece against the Rays and the Yankees. But Toronto is getting hot at the right time and may just sneak into that final playoff spot.