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AL Wild Card Primer - Red Sox, Rays, And Angels In The Hunt

Aaron Fischman |
September 19, 2011 | 11:30 p.m. PDT

Staff Writer

Jacoby Ellsbury is putting up MVP numbers and keeping Boston ahead. (Parker Harrington/Wikimedia Commons)
Jacoby Ellsbury is putting up MVP numbers and keeping Boston ahead. (Parker Harrington/Wikimedia Commons)
On September 6, the Red Sox were eight games ahead of the Rays and intent on catching the Yankees for the AL East crown.

Now five games behind the Bronx Bombers, the Red Sox are trying to stave off the Rays, who find themselves just two games behind Beantown. The Rays have won 8 of their last 11 games while the Sox have dropped 9 of their last 11. The Angels are just two games behind the Rays (and four back of Boston).

The Angels often get lost in the wild card shuffle because they don’t play in the AL East, but the men from Anaheim are 18-11 in their last 29. Below, you'll something of a cheat sheet that includes each AL wild card contender's remaining schedule and two or three players of note:

Boston Red Sox – 8 games left: 5 against the Orioles (2 home, 3 away) and 3 against the Yankees in New York.

Marco Scutaro – The infielder has driven in 16 runs in his last 13 games, for a vital triple-slash line of .404, .444, and .596. Over that stretch, he only went yard once, but he did contribute six doubles along with 12 other base hits.

Jacoby Ellsbury – The former Oregon State Beaver has 14 extra-base hits in September. He's also two away from eclipsing 100 RBIs this season, which is especially impressive since he has hit leadoff in 134 games.

Daniel Bard – Out of the bullpen, Bard has really struggled in four of his last seven appearances.

Rays 3B Evan Longoria (Ferguson/Wikimedia Commons)
Rays 3B Evan Longoria (Ferguson/Wikimedia Commons)

Tampa Bay Rays – 9 games left: 6 against the Yankees (3 home, 3 away) and 3 against the Blue Jays at Tropicana Field.

Evan Longoria (left) – He's drawn 16 walks in September. That's a large number, but it’s not as surprising when one considers this: He's straight up killing the baseball. The 6-foot-2-inch, 210-pound third baseman has accumulated 39 RBIs in his last 42 games.

James Shields, David Price, and Jeremy Hellickson – Since August 8, the three Rays starters have combined for a 2.16 ERA.

Los Angels of Anaheim – 9 games left: 3 against the Blue Jays in Toronto, 3 against the A’s in Oakland, and 3 against the Rangers in Oakland.

Howie Kendrick – Kendrick has smashed nine home runs in his last 25 games.

Erick Aybar – The little shortstop has done a phenomenal job of reaching base, hitting .427 this September.

Jered Weaver – Weaver has not been as dominant as he was prior to the All-Star break. Below are his numbers before and after the Midsummer Classic:

Pre-ASB: 19 starts, 1.86 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, .194 BAA, 120 strikeouts, 31 walks, 5 HRs allowed, 11-4 record.

Post-ASB: 12 starts, 3.33 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, .240 BAA, 68 strikeouts, 24 walks, 12 HRs allowed, 6-3 record.

Notice Weaver has surrendered, on average, a home run per start since the All-Star break.



Reach Aaron by email, or follow him on Twitter at @aaronhartf.




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