These three teams in the AL playoff pictures are more pretenders than serious contenders.
The AL playoff picture has some of the usual suspects at the top. The defending American League pennant-winning Houston Astros look like they have what it takes to get right back there again. Amidst some recent struggles, it’s also way too early to count out the New York Yankees.
It’s a top-heavy league with a few other clubs that look like they could play spoiler. While some races are all but sealed, there are some tighter ones to watch in the final weeks of the MLB season.
However, several of these teams in the AL playoff hunt seem to be marching toward a dead-end. They may make it to the postseason, but for what purpose? They have no shot at a World Series victory.
1) AL playoff picture: The Tampa Bay Rays are not World Series ready
How the Tampa Bay Rays have managed to hang around and stay relevant this long is a bit of a mystery. All year, they’ve looked more like a .500 team than an actual wild card option. And yet here we are. Days in August are dwindling down and they have a strong chance to secure one of the three wild card spots.
In the postseason, the Rays can win with immaculate starting pitching and wise usage of their bullpen. It’s the only way they can go deep. It’s not impossible. Unfortunately, it’s very unlikely with the competition they have to go up against.
The Rays remain forever one of baseball’s Davids going up against several Goliaths. This low-budget franchise has to make its way further by outsmarting everyone else. Certainly built better than a couple of other clubs, they haven’t been quite there with many of the other AL playoff teams.
Minus a reliable starting lineup, the Rays would have to play spoiler too many times in the postseason to become World Series champions. In past seasons, the case might have been different. This year, there’s something lacking.