HOUSTON -- When Sunday's games concluded, one week remained in the regular season. Seven days to determine some close races. And none are closer than the American League's Wild Card chase, where the A's, Royals and Mariners all are within two games of each with two berths at stake.
"This is a sprint now," said Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon. "This is fun. Being tired or slumping, all that stuff goes out the window. Your intensity and adrenaline level are so high because of what's at stake."
The Indians appear to be the one team still with a shot at pushing into the three-team race as they're just two back of Seattle after beating the Twins on Sunday and should pick up another half-game Monday when they finish off a suspended game holding a 4-2 lead into the bottom of the 10th inning. The Indians and Royals then play their regularly scheduled series opener at Progressive Field in Cleveland.
Assuming the Indians don't blow that lead, the Royals will lose a half-game there and the Indians will tighten that gap a little more. Here's how Seattle's primary competition lines up into the final week. Three of these clubs will make the playoffs, with either Kansas City or Detroit winning the AL Central and then two of the remaining teams taking the Wild Card spots.
Tigers (86-69): All seven games left at home vs. teams with losing records -- White Sox (3), Minnesota (4).
A's (85-70): Seven games left all within AL West -- Anaheim (3), at Texas (4).
Royals (84-70): Seven games left on road -- at Cleveland (3), at White Sox (4), plus Monday conclusion of suspended game Royals trail 4-2 in bottom of 10th vs. Indians.
Mariners (83-72): Close up 11-game road trip, then home for final three -- at Toronto (4), Anaheim (3).
Indians (81-74): Six home games remaining -- Royals (3), Rays (3), plus Monday conclusion of suspended game Indians lead 4-2 in bottom of 10th vs. Royals.
Yankees (80-75): Likely need to win all seven left to have a chance -- Baltimore (4), at Boston (3).
Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.