Sep 11, 2013; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox left fielder Mike Carp (37) is congratulated by second baseman Dustin Pedroia (15), designated hitter David Ortiz (34) and first baseman Mike Napoli (12) after he hit the go ahead grand slam during the tenth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Boston Red Sox defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 7-3. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Who To Root For (Thursday): What the Royals Need to Have Happen Tonight


With the Royals two games behind in the wild card race, but behind several team, it can get confusing to know who to root for and when to do it. Fear not, we have you covered.

Kansas City is currently behind four teams for the second wild card: Tampa Bay (leader), New York, Baltimore, and Cleveland. Here are the current standings:

TEX: 81-64 (+2.5)

TB: 78-66 (–)

NY: 78-68 (1 GB)

BAL: 77-68 (1.5 GB)

CLE: 77-68 (1.5 GB)

KC: 77-69 (2 GB)

Texas and the Royals have the night off so there is no way we can gain or lose ground on them tonight. New York and Baltimore play each other this evening, while Tampa Bay will host Boston and Cleveland will travel to Chicago to face the White Sox.

So what do the Royals need to happen tonight?

NEW YORK AT BALTIMORE (6:05 p.m.)

Kansas City needs Baltimore to beat the Yankees tonight. While it wouldn’t be a bad thing if the Yankees won, what we want is for all the teams in front of the Royals to stay as close to KC as possible. An Orioles win would accomplish that for the Royals.

Also, Baltimore has six games remaining against the Boston Red Sox and four games against Tampa Bay. There are plenty more potential losses in their schedule, while New York still has Toronto, San Francisco, and Houston still left on their schedule.

VERDICT: Root Baltimore

BOSTON AT TAMPA BAY (6:10 p.m.)

This one is a bit more obvious for the Royals: Boston can bring the Royals half-a-game closer to the second wild card spot with a win over the Rays.

VERDICT: Root Boston

CLEVELAND AT CHICAGO WHITE SOX (7:10)

This one, too, is obvious for the Royals. A White Sox win means the Royals and Indians will be tied in the standings for both the division and the wild card.

KC has three more games against the Indians next week to either make-up ground or distance themselves from the Indians. The more games Cleveland loses to the White Sox, the better the chance Kansas City can put the Indians well behind them in the standings when they play each other next week.

VERDICT: Root White Sox

BEST CASE/WORST CASE

The worst case scenario today is if New York and Tampa Bay each win. That would mean KC would fall back to 2.5 games behind the final wild card spot and they would have to cover more ground to catch up with the Yankees, who have the easiest remaining schedule.

Best case is if Tampa, New York and Cleveland lost. We’d be willing to settle for a Tampa loss at the very least.

If everything breaks the Royals way tonight, this is what the standings would look like tomorrow morning:

TEX: 81-64

TB: 78-67 (–)

BAL: 78-68 (0.5)

NY:: 78-69 (1)

KC: 77-69 (1.5)

CLE: 77-69 (1.5)

 

 

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