One thing left to settle in the MLB Playoffs picture: Who joins the Los Angeles Angels from the AL West as the wild card team? The Oakland Athletics had an opportunity to clinch their spot but lost 5-4 to the Texas Rangers, leaving the opening to the Seattle Mariners after they beat the Angels 2-1.
So what’s the situation? The A’s, at 87-74, are currently in position to make it with one game ahead of the Mariners, who are at 86-75. Both teams have one more game to play: The A’s can clinch their spot to face either the Kansas City Royals or the Detroit Tigers in the Wild Card game by winning their final game of the season. If they lose and the Mariners lose as well, that still means Oakland make it into the Wild Card game
The A’s have been the second-worst team in Baseball since leading the wild card situation by 11 games and the AL West (over the Angles) by four games back in August 10. At the moment, they are on another bad stretch in a more minimal scope, losing eight of their last 12 games. Coming from behind to go one run behind against the Rangers in the 8th inning, it felt as if something beyond the realms of just baseball was denying the A’s that hit and run that would get them into the playoffs without having to worry on the last day of the season.
For the Mariners, this season, regardless of how soon the season ends for them, was a success. With 86 or 87 wins, it’ll be their best regular season since 2007 (88-74), as they’re trying to make the playoffs for the first time since 2001. It didn’t hurt in the aspect of keeping their hopes alive that the Angels pulled out of the game pretty much anyone of consequence. In the 11th inning, Austin Jackson grounded to the infield, but it allowed Brad Miller to score the winning run.
For Oakland, it seems that panic rules their decisions inside the stadium more than anything. Shaky hands when pitching, even shakier hands when hitting, as the prospect of actually following through on this collapse are becoming brighter and clearer with each loss while the Mariners aren’t fading away.
Felix Hernandez, a great pitcher who has yet to taste what postseason feels like, has a chance to win the ERA title in the American League, starting on the final game for Seattle. The current leader is Chris Sale of the White Sox (2.17) who has already played his final game, while Hernandez, at 2.18, has a chance against what shouldn’t be the scariest and most motivated of Angels’ lineups.