Ball Star

A closer look at the Royals’ wild-card competitors

Updated: 2013-08-05T05:14:47Z

By PETE GRATHOFF

The Kansas City Star

Oh, man, would this be crazy or what?

Right now, the Rays hold the top wild-card spot in the American League, and the Royals are in the thick of the race for the second wild card.

So maybe we could end up with the Royals (and James Shields, Wade Davis and Elliot Johnson) at the Rays (and Wil Myers) in a one-game playoff.

That would be fun.

Of course, that’s all speculation at this point. However, every week starting today, I plan to take a look at the wild-card chase.

Here's how things shape up:

INDIANS (62-49)

• Last 10: 9-1

• Who’s hot: Jason Kipnis is hitting .300 with five RBIs in his last six games.

• This week: 4 vs. Detroit, 3 vs. Angels

• Reason to fear them: They have won 11 in a row at home and are 37-19 at Progressive Field, the best home record in the league.

• Reason for hope: Jason Giambi has 25 hits and 24 RBIs and he’s the Indians designated hitter.

• Quick thought: Go Tigers.

RANGERS (62-50, 0.5 GB)

• Last 10: 6-4

• Who’s hot: Adrian Beltre hit .429 over the last seven games.

• This week: 3 at Angels, 3 at Astros

• Reason to fear them: They have 20 games remaining against the Angels and Astros, two teams that won’t have much to play for down the stretch.

• Reason for hope: Texas is ninth in the AL in runs scored and it appears they are going to lose Nelson Cruz to a suspension.

• Quick thought: Mr. Selig, don’t spare the rod.

ORIOLES (61-51, 1.5 GB)

• Last 10: 4-6

• Who’s hot: Closer Jim Johnson has nine saves in as many opportunities in his last 10 games.

• This week: 2 at Padres, 3 at Giants

• Reason to fear them: The Orioles upgraded their pitching staff with recent trades (Bud Norris, Scott Feldman, Francisco Rodriguez).

• Reason for hope: Chris Davis can’t keep up his pre-All Star Game pace.

• Quick thought: Nice time for the Giants to get hot.

ROYALS (56-52, 4.5 GB)

• Last 10: 9-1

• Who’s hot: Miguel Tejada hit .387 in Royals’ nine-game road trip.

• This week: 3 vs. Twins, 4 vs. Red Sox

• Quick thought: Gotta pack The K.

YANKEES (57-53, 4.5 GB)

• Last 10: 4-6

• Who’s hot: Lyle Overbay is hitting .313 over the last week.

• This week: 3 at White Sox, 3 vs. Tigers

• Reason to fear them: They’ve got enough veterans who could squeeze out enough wins down the stretch to grab a wild-card spot.

• Reason for hope: I’m hearing there may be some kind of big news about Alex Rodriguez today.

• Quick thought: Hate the thought of the Yankees struggling. (HA!)

To reach Pete Grathoff, call 816-234-4330 or send email to pgrathoff@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com

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