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Athletics magic number: 3, games to watch Wednesday September 24

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A look back at Tuesday around the American League Wild Card race, and a look ahead to Wednesday's schedule.

Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland Athletics watched their magic number to reach the postseason tick down from four to three as they took the field Tuesday evening, with the Seattle Mariners dropping a Felix Hernandez start to the Toronto Blue Jays. The magic number stayed at three as the A's could not score against Wade LeBlanc and the good portion of the Angels bullpen.

With five games remaining, the Oakland Athletics would like to stamp out their competition below once and for all with victories in the next few days. The rest of the mathematical AL Wild Card contenders all lost except for the Kansas City Royals, who beat the Cleveland Indians. The Detroit Tigers survived a ninth-inning scare, walking off and maintaining their one-game lead over the Royals in the AL Central.

Here is your American League Wild Card scoreboard as of the end of play on September 23:

W L GB 9/23
Magic Number
Games remaining
WC1 KC 86 71 -- Win 6 2-5 1 at CLE, 4 at CWS
WC2 OAK 86 71 -- Loss 1 vs. LAA, 4 at TEX
SEA 83 74 3.0 Loss 3 9-10 2 at TOR, 3 vs LAA
CLE 82 76 4.5 Loss 1 4-2 1 vs KC, 3 vs TB
NYY 81 76 5.0 Loss 1 4-2 2 vs BAL, 3 at BOS
Division Leaders
West LAA 97 61 Champ Win 9-9 1 at OAK, 3 at SEA
East BAL 94 63 Champ Win 4-2 2 at NYY, 3 at TOR
Central DET 87 70 +1.0 Win 7 2-5 1 vs CWS, 4 vs MIN

As things stand, the Athletics would visit the Kansas City Royals for the Wild Card Game, because the Royals won the head-to-head series during the regular season. The best that the Indians and Yankees can do is force a Tiebreaker game.

Tuesday's recaps

Royals 7, Indians 1

From Josh Duggan of Royals Review:

Where the hell was this offense two weeks ago? Oh, that's right, Butler--who was at the heart of the offensive attack tonight--was in the dog house, despite the fact that he'd been integral to their hot streak in August. It's just one game, but the offense was clicking, thanks in large part to the efforts of Butler, Hosmer, and Gordon tonight. Five more games, dudes. Keep it up.

From Jason Lukehart of Let's Go Tribe:

Last night's loss put a serious dent in the Tribe's playoff chances, but they were still in a position where a 5-0 finish gave them a better than 50/50 shot at playing beyond Sunday. Forget the dents though, the engine block fell out tonight, and we're just waiting for Old Joe to crush what's left into a little cube and ship it across the Pacific to be turned into patio furniture.

Orioles 5, Yankees 4

From Michael Brown of Pinstripe Alley:

The Yankees continued their final homestand of 2014 against the division champion Baltimore Orioles. Disappointing O's pickup Ubaldo Jimenez faced off against excellent Yankees' pickup Brandon McCarthy. McCarthy just didn't have it tonight though, and the Yankees couldn't make up for it.

Blue Jays 10, Mariners 2

From Minor Leaguer of Bluebird Banter:

The Jays did, in fact, get eliminated when the Royals won, but at least they went out in fine fashion, beating the King and his Mariners 10-2. That fun win almost made us forget that the Blue Jays were eliminated from the playoffs today. That's why I'm here to remind you. Sorry.


It was a low-scoring affair going into the bottom of the fifth, the Blue Jays down 2-1. Their bats were awakened by a monstrous leadoff home run which was deposited into the 200-level outfield seats by Dalton Pompey. Pompey got his first major league home run off of King Felix in his hometown, in front of his parents, to tie the game. How special was that.

From Matt Ellis of Lookout Landing:

In short, the Mariners didn't accidentally stumble into a playoff hunt they had no business being in. They rightfully took advantage of their first chance to make the playoffs in thirteen years, and then fell face first into the chopped rubber track a full lap before crossing the finish line. The Mariners may have overperformed to get here, but they violently underperformed once the door to the postseason was opened. And that's why this was all so hard to take. It's hard because they weren't simply defeated by superior teams. They simply blew it.

AL Wild Card Contenders

Tigers 4, White Sox 3

From Catherine Slonksnis of Bless You Boys:

DETROIT - David Price twirled a gem through eight innings against the White Sox Tuesday night, but in the end he couldn't shut the door on a complete game. Tied in the bottom of the ninth with two on, Miguel Cabrera walked it off for a 4-3 win over the White Sox, tying the series and holding the Tigers to a one-game lead in the AL Central.

Wednesday's games to watch

Getaway days for several teams mean morning west coast starts. At 10 o'clock, the Yankees will have to win to cling to the barest thread of extending their season and the Tigers will try to lock down the AL Central division. At 12:35, the Angels and Athletics get underway. After the A's game, Mariners-Blue Jays starts at four o'clock to whittle down that postseason magic number. Also at four o'clock, Royals-Indians, with A's fans watching the Royals hoping to host that AL Wild Card showdown next Tuesday.

Time (PT) Starting Pitcher Notes
10:05 AM Orioles Bud Norris (14-8, 3.62)
Yankees Shane Greene (5-3, 3.24) M# vs. NYY = 1
10:08 AM White Sox Chris Sale (12-4, 2.20)
Tigers Justin Verlander (14-12, 4.68) M# vs. DET = 7
12:35 PM Angels Hector Santiago (5-9, 3.98)
Athletics Jon Lester (6-3, 2.20)
4:07 PM Mariners Taijuan Walker (2-2, 3.00) M# vs. SEA = 3
Blue Jays Mark Buehrle (12-10, 3.53)
4:10 PM Royals Jason Vargas (11-10, 3.59) M# vs. KC = 6
Indians Trevor Bauer (5-8, 4.06) M# vs. CLE = 1