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The September schedules of AL Wild Card contenders

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Who has the easiest path?

Houston Astros v Detroit Tigers Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images

Here we are in September and the Royals are somehow still playing meaningful baseball, something unthinkable a few weeks ago. They are smack dab in the middle of a very crowded field for the Wild Card. Right now there are seven teams within four games of the two Wild Card spots, with around 30 games left to play. With the margin of error so small, who has the easiest path to get to October? First, let's look at overall strength of schedule of the Wild Card contenders for the remainder of the season.

Team SOS
Houston .526
New York .526
Boston .506
Baltimore .503
Seattle .485
Kansas City .481
Detroit .479

The American League East teams have to beat each other up, while the Central teams get the awful Twins (13 losses in a row!) to beat up on. Houston had a rough September last year, and it doesn't get any easier this year. The Tigers have been hot, and the skids have been greased for them in September.

Let’s break down their schedules.

Boston Red Sox (74-59, 1st Wild Card)

Games remaining: 10 home/19 road

Of their remaining 29 games, 23 are against American League East foes, however the other six are against the lowly Athletics and Padres. They also get six more games against the last place Rays. The Red Sox will have to go on a long ten-game road trip September 19-29 that will take them to Baltimore, Tampa Bay, and New York.

Key series: September 30-October 2 vs. Toronto. The final series of the year is three games at Fenway against the first-place Blue Jays that could either end with them winning the division, or leave them out of the playoffs altogether.

Baltimore Orioles (72-61, tied for 2nd Wild Card)

Games remaining: 14 home/15 road

The Orioles have been the third-best team in the league at home this year, and they’ll benefit from a long 11-game homestand in the friendly confines of Camden Yards against the Rays, Red Sox, and Diamondbacks from September 15-25. They have sixteen games remaining against fellow Wild Card contenders, plus three more against the first place Blue Jays.

Key series: September 30-October 2 at New York. After traveling to Toronto, the Orioles end the year with what could be three tough games in Yankee Stadium.

Detroit Tigers (72-61, tied for 2nd Wild Card)

Games remaining: 14 home/15 road

The Tigers have ten games remaining against the two worst teams in baseball, the Twins and Braves, with the last series of the year coming in Atlanta. The Tigers have beat up on the Twins, going 10-2 against them this year.

Key series: September 26-29 vs. Cleveland. The Tigers have gone 1-11 against the Indians this year, but some wins late could help propel them into the post-season.

Houston Astros (71-62, 1 game back)

Games remaining: 13 home/16 road

The Astros have gone 11-1 against the Angels this year, and have seven games left against them, including the last series of the year. Three of their last four series on the year are against teams with losing records.

Key series: September 12-14 vs. Texas. The Astros have a brutal stretch coming up where they play their next 13 games against first place clubs - the Rangers, Indians, Cubs, and Rangers again. If they can survive that stretch, they can start beating up on lesser clubs.

New York Yankees (69-63, 2.5 games back)

Games remaining: 16 home/13 road

The Yankees have just six games left against teams with a losing record, all against the Rays. They still have an interleague series left against the Dodgers, part of a ten-game homestand September 5-14.

Key series: September 23-26 at Toronto. The Yankees have gone just 3-9 against the Blue Jays, and heading north of the border late in the year could knock the Yankees out of contention if they don’t improve that.

Kansas City Royals (69-64, 3 games back)

Games remaining: 17 home/12 road

Cleveland and Detroit are the only teams remaining on the schedule with a winning record, with the Royals having a home-and-road series left against each. The Royals will need to take advantage of an eight-game homestand that has them hosting the Athletics and White Sox from September 12-19.

Key series: September 23-25 at Detroit. The Royals will have a short road trip to Cleveland and Detroit that could largely determine their fate.

Seattle Mariners (68-65, 4 games back)

Games remaining: 17 home/12 road

The Mariners have 13 games left against teams with losing records, getting to face the Twins and Athletics, with two series left against the Angels. They will have seven games against the first place Rangers and Blue Jays, but both series will be in Safeco Field in Seattle.

Key series: September 26-28 at Houston. The Mariners will face the Astros the last week, the only opponent in their last ten games with a winning record.

BOS BAL DET HOU NYY KCR SEA
1-Sep OFF OFF OFF OFF OFF OFF OFF
2-Sep at OAK vs.NYY at KCR at TEX at BAL vs.DET vs.LAA
3-Sep at OAK vs.NYY at KCR at TEX at BAL vs.DET vs.LAA
4-Sep at OAK vs.NYY at KCR at TEX at BAL vs.DET vs.LAA
5-Sep at SDP at TBR at CHW at CLE vs.TOR at MIN vs.TEX
6-Sep at SDP at TBR at CHW at CLE vs.TOR at MIN vs.TEX
7-Sep at SDP at TBR at CHW at CLE vs.TOR at MIN vs.TEX
8-Sep OFF OFF OFF at CLE vs.TBR OFF vs.TEX
9-Sep at TOR at DET vs.BAL vs.CHC vs.TBR at CHW at OAK
10-Sep at TOR at DET vs.BAL vs.CHC vs.TBR at CHW at OAK
11-Sep at TOR at DET vs.BAL vs.CHC vs.TBR at CHW at OAK
12-Sep vs.BAL at BOS vs.MIN vs.TEX vs.LAD vs.OAK at LAA
13-Sep vs.BAL at BOS vs.MIN vs.TEX vs.LAD vs.OAK at LAA
14-Sep vs.BAL at BOS vs.MIN vs.TEX vs.LAD vs.OAK at LAA
15-Sep vs.NYY vs.TBR vs.MIN OFF at BOS vs.OAK OFF
16-Sep vs.NYY vs.TBR at CLE at SEA at BOS vs.CHW vs.HOU
17-Sep vs.NYY vs.TBR at CLE at SEA at BOS vs.CHW vs.HOU
18-Sep vs.NYY vs.TBR at CLE at SEA at BOS vs.CHW vs.HOU
19-Sep at BAL vs.BOS OFF at OAK OFF vs.CHW vs.TOR
20-Sep at BAL vs.BOS at MIN at OAK at TBR at CLE vs.TOR
21-Sep at BAL vs.BOS at MIN at OAK at TBR at CLE vs.TOR
22-Sep at BAL vs.BOS at MIN vs.LAA at TBR at CLE OFF
23-Sep at TBR vs.ARI vs.KCR vs.LAA at TOR at DET at MIN
24-Sep at TBR vs.ARI vs.KCR vs.LAA at TOR at DET at MIN
25-Sep at TBR vs.ARI vs.KCR vs.LAA at TOR at DET at MIN
26-Sep OFF OFF vs.CLE vs.SEA at TOR OFF at HOU
27-Sep at NYY at TOR vs.CLE vs.SEA vs.BOS vs.MIN at HOU
28-Sep at NYY at TOR vs.CLE vs.SEA vs.BOS vs.MIN at HOU
29-Sep at NYY at TOR vs.CLE OFF vs.BOS vs.MIN vs.OAK
30-Sep vs.TOR at NYY at ATL at LAA vs.BAL vs.CLE vs.OAK
1-Oct vs.TOR at NYY at ATL at LAA vs.BAL vs.CLE vs.OAK
2-Oct vs.TOR at NYY at ATL at LAA vs.BAL vs.CLE vs.OAK