They held on as long as they could, but it’s finally over for the 2021 Oakland A’s. For weeks it’s seemed nearly inevitable that they would miss the postseason, and now that disappointing thought has come true, as they were officially eliminated from the Wild Card race on Wednesday.
It would have taken a magical late-season run for the A’s to climb back into the race, after falling down the standings during a sluggish late-August and early-September, but instead that fairy tale happened for the Seattle Mariners. Oakland was swept by the Mariners again this week, meaning the A’s have played seven of their past 10 games against Seattle and lost all seven meetings.
- Game #157: A’s walloped by Mariners 13-4
- Game #158: A’s continue losing to Mariners
- Game #159: A’s swept by Mariners, eliminated from postseason contention
That surge has the Mariners suddenly in serious contention, right where the green-and-gold had hoped to be, and where nobody expected Seattle to be.
There are now four teams competing for two AL Wild Card spots, with the Mariners making a big move since our last look on Monday.
Oakland is 4.5 games out with three to play, so, the math is clear. But Seattle has caught up with the streaky AL East teams, and the Yankees and Blue Jays still have one head-to-head game together today.
The Red Sox play the Orioles today, then they head to Washington for three against the rebuilding Nationals. After the NYY/TOR series ends, New York hosts the first-place Rays, and Toronto hosts the last-place Orioles. Meanwhile, Seattle welcomes the sub-.500 Angels to town.
- NYY vs. TBR
- BOS @ WAS
- TOR vs. BAL
- SEA vs. LAA
- OAK @ HOU
The A’s play on the road against the Astros, and technically they can still have an effect. Houston hasn’t clinched the AL West division title yet, though they’re close. They have a Magic Number of one over the Mariners, who are 3.5 back. If Seattle sweeps the Angels, and the Astros lose to the Rays tonight and then get swept by Oakland this weekend, then there would be a tie at the top of the standings, forcing a Game 163 between HOU/SEA.
The odds put that outcome at around 0.3% likelihood, but the Mariners are up to the 20-30% range in terms of Wild Card chances, only a tick behind the Jays. The Yankees lead the way in the 75-82% range, with the Red Sox nearby in the 62-75% range.
- FanGraphs postseason odds
- FiveThirtyEight postseason odds
- Baseball-Reference postseason odds
Oakland won their last eight non-Mariners games, against three other opponents, but every time they got hot down the stretch Seattle was there to rain on their parade. That lopsided matchup isn’t the only reason the A’s are missing the playoffs, but it’s the most glaring factor in these final days of the season.