The American League wild card race is bizarre, flawed or mediocre - whatever you choose to call it.
In most seasons, teams struggling to stay above .500 would be long gone out of the race. Not this year.
Here is what makes the AL wild card race so wild:
* The Twins, who lost 103 games in 2016, are contenders even with a rotation that includes Bartolo Colon, Aaron Slegers, Dillion Gee and Tim Melville. Colon is 44 and looks like a sportswriter. Slegers has made one big league start, Gee 23 in the last three years. And the Twins signed Melville on June 12 after he pitched in an independent league.
* The Angels, who beat the Orioles in two of three games over the weekend at Camden Yards, are still in the race even though they’ve had seven pitchers - three relievers and four starters - on the disabled list. Two of the starters - Tyler Skaggs and lefty Andrew Heaney - have just joined the rotation from the disabled list. Heaney’s coming back from Tommy John surgery and Skaggs has been on the disabled list most of the season with a strained oblique.
* With Felix Hernandez, James Paxton and Hisashi Iwakuma on the sideline, the Mariners’ rotation injuries are extreme as well, but they are holding on with journeyman Andrew Albers, who has given up 98 hits in 84 2/3 big league innings, Marco Gonzales, who has made 10 big league starts, and former Oriole Yovani Gallardo, who in his last start pitched into the sixth inning for the first time since June 12.
* The Royals, who started the season 10-20, are in the race even though their best pitcher, Danny Duffy, has a 6.35 ERA during August and their most consistent starter has been Jake Junis, a 29th-round draft pick.
* The Rangers have rotation depth, but they just now are becoming a consistent team - on target to have their second winning month of the season. They’ve never been more than three games above .500 all season. They go into Monday with a chance to even their record. They haven’t been over .500 since a 2-1 win at Cleveland on June 28 that put them at 39-38.
* The Rays had a strong offense in the first half, but the bats have been silent in the second. But, as usual, they have the second-best ERA in the AL during August, led by young guys Austin Pruitt and Blake Snell. Who knew?
* The Orioles are lucky to enter the week only four games out, given that they’ve allowed more runs (636) then they have scored (589). The Orioles started the season 22-10 but haven’t looked like the same team since. They are 18-18 since the break, even with the third-best run production in the AL during that time.