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Athletics magic number: 11, games to watch Tues. Sep. 16

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A look back at Monday's AL Wild Card scoreboard, and a look ahead to Tuesday's action.

Looking forward to Jarrod Parker's return in 2015.
Looking forward to Jarrod Parker's return in 2015.
Thearon W. Henderson

The magic number for the Oakland Athletics is down to 11, with the Seattle Mariners getting absolutely trounced by the Los Angeles Angels. The A's now take a three-game lead over Seattle for a spot in the postseason with 13 games remaining. By the way, the Angels clinched a berth in the postseason with their win, and their magic number to clinch the AL West is now three against the A's.

In that game, two players exited with injuries. Albert Pujols pulled up on a bases-clearing double with a left hamstring cramp that sounds minor. Starting pitcher Matt Shoemaker exited the game under the escort of the trainer, though that may have just been precautionary. Shoemaker was already around 100 pitches when he exited the game, and Joe Thatcher was already warming up.

It was a Monday full of excitement around the American League Wild Card race. Here's your update through the end of September 15:

Wins Losses GB 9/15
OAK
Magic Number
Head-to-head
W-L
Games remaining
OAK 83 66 +1.0 Idle 3 vs. TEX, 3 vs. PHI, 3 vs. LAA, 4 at TEX
KC 82 67 -- Win 13 2-5 2 vs. CWS, 3 vs. DET, 3+1 at CLE, 3 at CWS
SEA 80 69 2.0 Loss 11 9-10 3 at LAA, 3 at HOU, 4 at TOR, 3 vs LAA
TOR 77 72 5.0 Loss 8 4-3 2 at BAL,  4 at NYY, 4 vs SEA, 3 vs BAL
CLE 76 73 6.0 Loss 7 4-2 3 at HOU, 3 at MIN, 3+1 vs KC, 3 vs TB
NYY 76 73 6.0 Loss 7 4-2 2 at TB, 4 vs TOR, 4 vs BAL, 3 at BOS
TB 73 78 10.0 Win 2 4-2 2 vs NYY, 3 vs CWS, 3 at BOS, 3 at CLE
Division Leaders
LAA 93 56 +10.0 Loss 8-8
BAL 90 60 +12.5 Win 4-2
DET 84 66 +1.5 Win 14 2-5 3 at MIN, 3 at KC, 3 vs CWS, 4 vs MIN

Monday's recaps

In the AL Central, both the Royals and Tigers scored late to win their ballgame. The Royals won in walkoff fashion over the Chicago White Sox in a game that include several Pale Hose defensive lapses, prompting Hawk Harrelson to comment, "Absolutely gift-wrapped it for them with a Pretty. Little. Bow." The Tigers had a 6-0 lead in the fifth inning before frittering it away by the end of the eighth. The Tigers hit back-to-back home runs in the 9th, and the Twins could not come back again.

The Blue Jays, Indians, and Yankees are quickly running out of chances to make a stand in the Wild Card race. As far as the A's are concerned, they hold a six-game lead on Toronto with 13 to play, and a seven-game lead on Cleveland and New York.

Orioles 5, Blue Jays 2

From Scott C. of Bluebird Banter:

The Blue Jays Wild Card hopes are slowly becoming nonexistent with each and every loss, although it's still a helluva fun ride. Marcus Stroman wasn't as sharp as he was the last time out on the mound against Chicago and the offence wasn't able to pick him up, although it wasn't from lack of chances. With the loss the Blue Jays record falls to 77-72 and lowers their highest win possible win total on the season to 90 if they run the table.

Rays 1, Yankees 0

From Tonya Bondurant of Pinstripe Alley:

This team loves getting shut out. This team loves to make all of you suffer for nearly four hours while they fail to scratch out even a single run. This team loves drinking your tears. If you want to find a positive in tonight's game, maybe you point to the fact that it's another mark off the calendar as we approach the offseason. Watching these guys flail helplessly night after night is barely even disappointing anymore. It has numbed us.

Royals 4, White Sox 3

From Josh Duggan of Royals Review:

After spending the first six innings of Monday night's game making Cy Danks look like he was in fact Cy Danks and not the pitcher holding the fourth-worst FIP (4.86) and fifth-worst ERA (5.05) of pitchers with at least 140 IP, the Royals' bats came to life--or at least as close an approximation to life as this stagnant offense can muster--in the last three innings.

...

Maybe the Royals' season isn't over. At least for one night in mid-September it looks like it might not be.

AL Wild Card Contenders

Tigers 8, Twins 6

From Al Beaton of Bless You Boys:

Detroit's bullpen has been, if not lock-down, at least fairly dependable over the past month. Tonight the bullpen pitched as if they had time-traveled their way in from May. Joba Chamberlain, Phil Coke and Al Alburquerque were unable to get the Tigers out of the eighth, allowing the Twins back in the game. Chamberlain didn't retire a batter, walked two, both of whom would come around to score. Coke was charged with a blown save, giving up the game-tying hit. Alburquerque faced just one batter, allowing a single.

Astros 3, Indians 1

From Jason Lukehart of Let's Go Tribe:

Friday afternoon the Indians still looked life a playoff contender, albeit one who needed to get on its horse and finish strong if it were to actually make the postseason. Now, little more than three days later, they look like a team that will struggle to keep itself above .500, because they can't do much right. For most of the season the Tribe had a solid offense. We argued some about whether or not they were consistent enough, but the fact of the matter is they were scoring runs at an above-average clip. Since a 12-2 win on August 1st though, the Indians have now averaged just 3.34 runs per game. They've scored 3 runs or fewer in 26 of 41 games during that time, and they've scored 2 or fewer more often (16 times) more often than they've scored 4 or more (15 times).

Angels 8, Mariners 1

From Peter Woodburn of Lookout Landing:

In the end, the Angels clinched a spot in the playoffs because they had to do so against the Mariners. I hate the Angels with a burning passion, and I do so even more now. But I refuse to acknowledge that the writing is on the wall for the 2014 season. Perhaps this is because my eye sight quit working worth anything in the second grade, but I still see plenty of time to get things right. The Mariners are two games back on the Royals and 3.5 games back on the Athletics. There are still 14 games left to play. So although each loss narrows that narrow window even more, playoff projections sit right around 30 percent.

Tuesday's games to watch

A full board ahead of Tuesday night's game between the Texas Rangers and Oakland Athletics at the Coliseum. Blue Jays-Orioles and Yankees-Rays goes first in the four o'clock hour. The five o'clock hour brings the AL Central matchups with games featuring the Royals, Tigers, and Indians. Finally, starting simultaneously with the A's game in the seven o'clock hour will be the second game of the Mariners-Angels series.

Time (PT) Starting Pitcher Notes
4:05 PM Blue Jays Drew Hutchison (10-11, 4.36) M# vs. TOR = 8
Orioles Ubaldo Jimenez (4-9, 4.96)
4:10 PM Yankees Michael Pineda (3-4, 2.20) M# vs. NYY = 7
Rays Jake Odorizzi (10-12, 4.08) M# vs. TB = 2
5:10 PM White Sox Chris Bassitt (0-1, 4.73)
Royals Liam Hendriks (0-2, 4.05) M# vs. KC = 13
5:10 PM Tigers Rick Porcello (15-11, 3.23) M# vs. DET = 14
Twins Ricky Nolasco (5-11, 5.64)
5:10 PM Indians Corey Kluber (15-9, 2.45) M# vs. CLE = 7
Astros Nick Tropeano (1-0, 3.60)
7:05 PM Mariners Roenis Elias (10-12, 3.81) M# vs. SEA = 11
Angels Cory Rasmus (3-1, 2.80)
7:05 PM Rangers Nick Tepesch (4-10, 4.47)
Athletics Scott Kazmir (14-8, 3.32)