Eye on Playoff Races: Rangers still hanging around

Can the Rangers make the playoffs for the fourth straight year? Time is running out.
Can the Rangers make the playoffs for the fourth straight year? Time is running out. (USATSI)

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As we count down the final days of the season, most playoff teams are either known or a mere formality. Where a change could come in, however, is the AL wild-card, where the Texas Rangers trail the Cleveland Indians by just one game and the Tampa Bay Rays by two. Let's check it all out.

If the playoffs started today ...

AL wild card: Indians at Rays
ALDS1: WC winner at Boston Red Sox
ALDS2: Detroit Tigers at Oakland Athletics

NL wild card: Cincinnati Reds at Pittsburgh Pirates
NLDS1: WC winner at Atlanta Braves
NLDS2: Los Angeles Dodgers at St. Louis Cardinals

Current playoff odds, via Fangraphs

AL

Red Sox - IN
A's - IN
Tigers - IN
Rays - 93.1%
Indians - 77.6%
Rangers - 29.2%
Kansas City Royals - 0.2%
New York Yankees - 0.0%

NL

Dodgers - IN
Braves - IN
Cardinals - IN
Pirates - IN
Reds - IN

Wednesday's big games

Mets at Reds, 12:35 p.m. ET: The Reds' chances of taking the NL Central took a serious hit Tuesday night. For now, they're down to the Pirates by a game for the top wild card spot. They need that before looking ahead at the Cardinals.

Nationals at Cardinals, 1:45 p.m. ET: The Cardinals have taken their magic number down to three in NL Central and only trail the Braves by a half game for the top overall record in the NL.

Pirates at Cubs, 2:20 p.m. ET: The Pirates are holding off the Reds for the right to host the wild-card game while also hoping to take down the Cardinals in the NL Central. With Francisco Liriano taking on the Cubs and the Cardinals facing Jordan Zimmermann Wednesday, there's a decent chance to gain ground.

A's at Angels, 3:35 p.m. ET: The Athletics trail the Red Sox by just one game for the best record in the AL, and securing the spot would lock down home-field advantage through the World Series.

White Sox at Indians, 7:05 p.m. ET: After Tuesday night's dramatic win, the Indians have won straight and are closing in on a playoff berth, but the Rangers are hot on their trail -- just a game back.

Rays at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. ET: The Rays are close to securing a spot, but they are still only two games ahead of the Rangers, so there's no room for error.

Brewers at Braves, 7:10 p.m. ET: As mentioned above, the Braves are clinging to a minute lead for the top record in the AL. With a significant split in performance between home (53-23) and the road (40-41), this matters.

Astros at Rangers, 8:05 p.m. ET: Time for the Astros to take care of business. They still have a shot to salvage the season. 

Tigers at Twins, 8:10 p.m. ET: The Tigers' magic number in the AL Central is one, so it's mostly a formality. Still, a win clinches their third straight division title.

Red Sox at Rockies, 8:40 p.m. ET: As mentioned above, the A's are right on the Red Sox's tails for the top record in the AL.

Tuesday's possible clinchers

The Tigers can clinch the AL Central title with a win OR an Indians loss

2013 postseason schedule

NL Wild Card Game: Oct. 1
AL Wild Card Game: Oct. 2
NL Division Series begin: Oct. 3
AL Division Series begin: Oct. 4
NL Championship Series begins: Oct. 11
AL Championship Series begins: Oct. 12
World Series begins: Oct. 23

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Snyder has been a baseball writer with CBS Sports since 2011. A member of the BBWAA, he's now covered the last five World Series beginning with the epic 2011 Fall Classic. The former Indiana University... Full Bio

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