Eye On Playoff Races: Indians are in ... for now

The Indians are presently part of the playoff fray, but there's no time to let up. (USATSI)
The Indians are presently part of the playoff fray, but there's no time to let up. (USATSI)

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On Friday, we saw the Cleveland Indians win a critical game in seven innings, and the Tampa Bay Rays win a critical game in ... 18 innings. What will Saturday hold? Playoff implications, for one thing. More specifically, can the Indians keep their new yet tenuous grip on a wild-card berth? 

Let's see where things stand in advance of a full slate of Saturday action ... 

If the playoffs started today...

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

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

Current playoff odds, via FanGraphs

Red Sox - IN
Athletics - 100% 
Tigers - 100%
Rays - 73.4%
Indians - 65.8%
Texas Rangers - 48.3%
Kansas City Royals  - 5.2%
Baltimore Orioles  - 4.0%
New York Yankees  - 3.2%

Dodgers - IN
Braves - 100%
Cardinals - 100%
Pirates - 99.4%
Reds - 99.3%
Washington Nationals  - 1.4%

Saturday's big matchups

Orioles at Rays, 1:05 pm ET (Preview)
Miguel Gonzalez (3.92) vs. Alex Cobb (3.02). After a crushing loss on Friday, the O's are almost in must-win territory. Gonzalez was forced to cut short his last start because of a groin strain, so his early effectiveness will bear monitoring. Cobb, meanwhile, is coming off one of his best starts of the season. 

San Francisco Giants at Yankees, 1:05 pm ET (Preview)
Ivan Nova (3.36) vs. Ryan Vogelsong (5.73). The Yanks continue to cling to life.  Nova is coming off back-to-back lackluster starts, while Vogelsong, despite having much worse overall numbers, is coming off a quality start versus the Dodgers. Another big game for A-Rod? Right-handed batters this season are hitting .335/.408/.538 against Vogelsong.

Twins at Athletics, 4:05 pm ET (Preview)
Pedro Hernandez (5.26) vs. Jarrod Parker (3.81). As you'll see below, the A's can lock up the AL West title on Saturday. The A's come in having won 19 of their last 25, and this season they're 4-1 against the Twins. Over those five games, they've out-scored Minnesota by a tally of 48-15. Still no Joe Mauer for the Twins.

Astros at Indians, 6:05 pm ET (Preview)
Paul Clemens (5.54) vs. Scott Kazmir (4.34). Kazmir has an ERA of 7.00 over his last two starts, while Clemens has notched two quality starts in three attempts since joining the Houston rotation (he has a 6.36 ERA as a reliever this season). On the other hand, the Astros are without their best player, catcher Jason Castro , and have managed a total of just 11 runs over their current seven-game losing streak. 

Reds at Pirates, 7:05 pm ET (Preview)
Homer Bailey (3.40) vs. A.J. Burnett (3.43). The Pirates lost in heartbreaking fashion on Friday night, but there's no time for regrets. These two clubs find themselves locked in a struggle for home-field advantage in the wild-card round, and each team is still just two games back of the Cardinals for the NL Central lead. In six career starts at PNC Park, Bailey has an ERA of 1.48. That figure includes the no-hitter he tossed just about a year ago.

Cardinals at Brewers, 7:10 pm ET (Preview)
Lance Lynn (4.18) vs. Yovani Gallardo (4.29). After Friday night's hotly fought win, the Cards in 2013 are now 13-4 against the Brewers. After struggling for much of August, Lynn is coming off back-to-back quality starts. The Cardinals, in addition to angling for the NL Central title, are also just 1 1/2 games behind the Braves for top overall seed in the NL.

Rangers at Royals, 7:10 pm ET (Preview)
Matt Garza (4.06) vs. Jeremy Guthrie (4.08). The Rangers are freshly out of playoff position, but they're only 1/2 game behind the Indians for the second AL wild-card berth. The Royals, meanwhile, are just 2 1/2 games off the pace. Texas this season is 12-18 against teams from the AL Central. 

Saturday's possible clinchers

- Braves clinch NL East with a win OR a Nationals loss. 
- Athletics clinch AL West with a win AND a Rangers loss.
- Athletics clinch share of AL West title with a win and a Rangers win or a loss and a Rangers loss.
- Athletics clinch at least second AL wild card with a win AND an Indians loss.
- Tigers clinch share of AL Central title with a win AND an Indians loss.
- Tigers clinch share of AL wild card with a win AND an Indians loss AND a Rangers loss.  
- Cardinals clinch share of NL wild card with a win AND a Nationals 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

Dayn Perry has been a baseball writer for CBS Sports since early 2012. Prior to that, he wrote for FOXSports.com and ESPN.com. He's the author of three books, the most recent being Reggie Jackson: The... Full Bio

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