Who Will Take the Second AL Wild Card Spot?

DETROIT, MI - FILE: Jose Valverde #46 of the Detroit Tigers celebrates a 6-3 win over the New York Yankees at Comerica Park on May 5, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The Detroit Tigers will play the New York Yankees in the American League Divisional Series beginning on September 30, 2011. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

As with most changes in sports, news of Bud Selig's institution of the second wild card was met with the extremes of human emotion: some really liked it, some really hated it. No matter what you think about it though, it's here, and it's actually made for a pretty exciting race in the American League for the final playoff spot.

With a little over five weeks left in the season, three AL teams---the Orioles, Athletics and the Tigers---are all tied for the second wild card spot with records of 67-57. The Angels, once thought to be shoe-ins for a playoff spot, sit just two and a half games back of that.

(The National League has its own wild card battle going between the Cardinals, Dodgers and Pirates, but it doesn't seem to have the same intensity. Perhaps that's just me projecting my belief that the Cardinals will run away with it.)

At this point---with roughly forty match-ups to go---the AL wild card still anybody's game. The Angels and Tigers, pre-season favorites for playoff berths, may both be sitting at home in October. There could very well be three AL East teams in the playoffs, or there could be just one. Same goes for the AL West.

Like it or not, the second wild card should make for a pretty thrilling final month of the season.

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