The Athletics have won 11 of their last 13 games and gone 19-5 since Aug. 30. The Red Sox (95-62) have been winning games still, but not at the same rate as Bob Melvin‘s A’s.
This leaves the Detroit Tigers four games behind the Red Sox for the best record in the league. The Tigers still have five games left against the Minnesota Twins and Miami Marlins, but it would only take two wins by the A’s and the Red Sox to keep the Tigers out of the race.
If the postseason started today, the Tigers would be on the road for their ALDS series against the Athletics. The A’s won the season series against the Tigers, going 4-3 against them. The Tigers won two out of three in Oakland in the second week of the season, but the A’s got them back by taking three of four at Comerica Park at the end of August.
The biggest key to the Tigers being able to stay in front of their division has been the dominance of the Cleveland Indians. The Tigers won 15 of the 19 meetings between the two this season. It would be a much different story if the Indians had come closer to splitting the season series, but their inability to keep pace in head-to-head games cost them dearly.
The Tigers still have work to do, as their magic number to win the division sits at two, but a win would earn them at least a share of the best record in the division. The good news is, the Tigers would hold home-field advantage in the World Series, but they have to get there first.