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Baseball's regular season ends on Oct. 2. That's less than two weeks from now. And yet, we're no closer to finding out who will have the four wild card spots than we were a few months ago, as the American League still has five teams within three games of one of the two wild cards. The National League, while not quite as crowded, has three teams within a game of each other, and then the Marlins and Pirates are still kind of hanging around with the slightest of chances.
In the AL, the Blue Jays and Orioles are tied and possess both wild cards, while in the NL, the Mets are a game up on the Giants and Cardinals, who are tied for the second wild card in the Senior Circuit. Behind the Jays and O's in the AL come the Tigers, at 2.5 games back, followed by the Astros and Mariners, both three games out. A little further back are the Yankees at 4.5, who have lost five in a row and harmed their chances, and the Royals, who have won three in a row to remain on wild card life support at five back with 12 to play.
Baltimore (66.5 percent) and Toronto (61.2 percent) have the greatest playoff odds for a wild card spot as of Tuesday morning, with the rest of the bunch ranging from just under 25 percent (Detroit) to Kansas City's 0.4 percent chance. A team could easily slip in behind one of the Orioles or Jays, leaving the other out of the postseason, thanks to the schedule. Toronto has three left against Baltimore and finishes the season against the AL East-leading Red Sox. The O's have three more against Boston, too, so things are going to get more complicated one way or the other.
In the NL, Miami and Pittsburgh have just 0.3 percent wild card odds, even though their elimination number is nine. It's mostly three teams fighting for two spots, with the Giants nightmare second half dropping them out of the NL West lead and now almost out of a wild card spot. Curiously enough, the playoff odds still favor the Giants, but they aren't exactly leaning in on their second half the same way we can: the Cardinals have four games left against the Reds, three against the mediocre Pirates, and two more against the Rockies. The Giants can't seem to beat anyone, even if they carry a lead into the ninth inning. A lot of weirdness can happen in 12 games of baseball, and the Giants need some of it to start happening in their favor.
- Speaking of the Giants, Madison Bumgarner tried to fight Yasiel Puig because Puig looked at him. Just pitch your baseball, dude.
- The Tigers have had a rough week, which is how they find their playoff odds so much lower than they were even just a little bit ago.
- Tim Tebow's first day of fall Instructional League went down on Monday, and here's all that weirdness.
- Sorry, Cubs, but the now-broken Indians might be the best underdog story of the 2016 postseason.
- Chris Carter set a franchise record for strikeouts for the Brewers already, even though there are nearly two weeks of season left. Congrats?
- Carter isn't the only one with a record you'd rather not hold, as the Reds surrendered home run No. 241 of the season on Monday. That's the most a team has ever given up, and again, we've still got games to play.
- Russell A. Carleton asks: is the American League just better?
- Word is that Jose Fernandez will be on the trade block at some point, as the Marlins don't think they can extend him. Could the Yankees deal for and extend the young ace?
- The only thing worse for the Orioles than keeping Matt Wieters would be letting him go, which is why they'll be talking to Scott Boras about a deal.
- Julio Urias is young, but he knows how to pick off a baserunner.