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Athletics magic number: 8, games to watch Sunday Sep. 21

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A look back at Saturday's AL Wild Card scoreboard, and a look ahead to Sunday's games

Jason O. Watson

Nobody wants to win the American League Wild Card, for some reason. The Athletics, Royals, and Mariners were all losers, which leaves the A's in the top Wild Card spot. They have a magic number of eight with eight games remaining. Just count your blessings and hope for an A's win.

Here are your AL Wild card standings for September 20:

W L GB 9/20
Magic Number
Games remaining
WC1 OAK 84 70 +0.5 Loss 1 vs. PHI, 3 vs. LAA, 4 at TEX
WC2 KC 83 70 -- Loss 9 2-5 1 vs. DET, 3+1 at CLE, 4 at CWS
SEA 83 71 0.5 Loss 8 9-10 1 at HOU, 4 at TOR, 3 vs LAA
CLE 80 74 3.5 Win 5 4-2 1 at MIN, 3+1 vs KC, 3 vs TB
NYY 79 75 4.5 Loss 4 4-2 1 vs TOR, 4 vs BAL, 3 at BOS
TOR 78 76 5.5 Win 3 4-3 1 at NYY, 4 vs SEA, 3 vs BAL
Division Leaders
West LAA 96 59 Champ Win 8-8 1 vs. TEX, 3 at OAK, 3 at SEA
East BAL 93 61 Champ Win 4-2 1 vs. BOS, 4 at NYY, 3 at TOR
Central DET 86 68 +2.5 Win 11 2-5 1 at KC, 3 vs CWS, 4 vs MIN

The "+1" between Kansas City and Cleveland denotes a suspended game to be resumed on September 22 with Kansas City batting in the bottom of the 10th inning trailing Cleveland 4-2.

Saturday's recaps

The Astros let the Mariners know with their 10-1 victory that they were not to be considered the doormats they have been in the past, and will be a force to be reckoned with now and for the rest of the year. The Royals coughed away another game against the Tigers, this time with another set of bizarre Ned Yost bunts, a failure to tag up on what should have been an Ian Kinsler error, taking out Josh Willingham and instead pinch-hitting Raul Ibanez with runners aboard in the ninth.

In "So you're saying there's a chance" land, the Yankees will need an Oakland 2012-level miracle to come back after losing to the Toronto Blue Jays. The Cleveland Indians still have a chance after beating the Minnesota Twins.

Tigers 3, Royals 2

From Al Beaton of Bless You Boys:

The game was marred by a major controversy. The Royals had a run taken away and a rally ended when it was ruled Salvador Perez never touched the third base bag after Ian Kinsler had caught a line drive and threw the ball away. The call was not reviewable and at the time the Tigers' appeal was denied. But after a long group consultation by the umpiring crew, Perez was called out, the run nullified and the Tigers given an inning-ending double play.

From Max Rieper of Royals Review:

Once Max Scherzer left the game after seven innings and 113 pitches, the Royals were able to plate a run in the eighth off reliever Joba Chamberlain on an RBI single by Eric Hosmer. Enter Joe Nathan. Royals fans had hope. That hope would increase after Jarrod Dyson singled. Then Alcides Escobar singled. Nori Aoki's ground out advanced the runners to second and third, but the Royals were down to their final out. So the season came down to - RAUL IBANEZ?????

Blue Jays 6, Yankees 3

From Tom Dakers of Bluebird Banter:

Tomorrow is the last game we will be subjected to non-stop Derek Jeter talk. YAY. I understand he's retiring. Someone should mention that, BUT JUST ONCE AND THEN SHUT UP ABOUT IT.

From Matt Ferenchick of Pinstripe Alley:

The Yankees playoff chances heading into this game were very slim, but a three-game win streak at least left some hope in our minds. The Yankees are still not technically out of the running, but the win streak is now gone as the Blue Jays beat the Yankees 6-3.

AL Wild Card Contenders

Indians 7, Twins 3

From Jason Lukehart of Let's Go Tribe:

Elsewhere around the American League, the Royals, Mariners, and Athletics all lost, and the Indians are only 3.5 games behind Kansas City for the second Wild Card spot. Factor in the 4-2 lead the Indians will carry into the continuation of their suspended game from a couple weeks back, and it's sort of like they're only 2.5 back.

The light is dim, but it is not out.

Astros 10, Mariners 1

From Matt Ellis of Lookout Landing:

The thing is that these are getting crazy hard to write. I never thought I'd say that. Usually I tell people that I write about Mariners games on the internet, and they tell me through drunken slurs that it must be the hardest job in the world. Well, I have to tell you they are wrong. See, the thing is that writing about the . . . Mariners is the easiest goddamn job I've ever had: it's been a bloodline of failure relegated to myth and archetype that seems extremely difficult to stray from, and while they are closer to the playoffs than they have been in like, oh I don't know, thirteen years, you can't take away anything that's happened so far this year.

Sunday's games to watch

Sunday morning will be chock full of games. Starting at 10 am, Masahiro Tanaka returns to the Yankees as they make their final stand. After that, three 11 o'clock games: Mariners-Astros, Tigers-Royals, and Indians-Twins. Last, the one o'clock game between the Phillies and Athletics.

Time (PT) Starting Pitcher Notes
10:05 AM Blue Jays Drew Hutchison (10-12, 4.51) M# vs. TOR = 3
Yankees Masahiro Tanaka (12-4, 2.51) M# vs. NYY = 4
11:10 AM Tigers Rick Porcello (15-11, 3.19) M# vs. DET = 11
Royals Jeremy Guthrie (11-11, 4.35) M# vs. KC = 9
11:10 AM Mariners Hisashi Iwakuma (14-8, 3.42) M# vs. SEA = 8
Astros Collin McHugh (10-9, 2.66)
11:10 AM Indians Corey Kluber (16-9, 2.54) M# vs. CLE = 5
Twins Anthony Swarzak (3-1, 4.42)
1:05 PM Phillies A.J. Burnett (8-17, 4.40)
Athletics Scott Kazmir (14-9, 3.44)