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Who is leading the AL East?

We break down the AL East race heading into the final two weeks of the 2023 MLB regular season.

Jorge Mateo of the Baltimore Orioles rounds the bases before scoring a run against the Tampa Bay Rays during the ninth inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 17, 2023 in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Hard as it is to believe, we’re less than two weeks away from the conclusion of the 2023 MLB regular season. The playoff picture is beginning to take shape — although in the American League, things remain pretty wide open. Sure, the Minnesota Twins have finally ran away with the AL Central (though that says more about the state of that division than the Twins), but beyond that, the other two divisions could very well go down to the wire. Here we’ll focus on the AL East, where the Rays and Orioles just split a thrilling four-game set in Baltimore — including a walk-off win on Sunday afternoon that could wind up deciding this race once and for all.

MLB playoff picture: AL East standings

  1. Baltimore Orioles: 93-56
  2. Tampa Bay Rays: 92-59 — 2.0 GB
  3. Toronto Blue Jays: 83-67 — 10.5 GB
  4. New York Yankees: 76-74 — 17.5 GB
  5. Boston Red Sox: 74-76 — 19.5 GB

Tampa Bay seemed for all the world like they were about to surpass the O’s atop the standings, taking the first two games at Camden Yards on Thursday and Friday. Baltimore’s bats got busy early against Tyler Glasnow on Saturday, but the Rays took a 3-1 lead into the bottom of the eighth in the finale on Sunday — six more outs, and they’d be just a half-game back with plenty of time left in the regular season. Alas, the Orioles had other ideas: Adley Rutschman homered, Adam Frazier tied it in the ninth with an RBI double and Cedric Mullins’ sac fly in the 11th eventually sent the home crowd happy. It’s hard to overstate how decisive Sunday could wind up being: Baltimore is now three up in the loss column with just 13 to play (11 for the Rays) and control of the tiebreaker by virtue of winning the season series; if they even go 7-6 in that span, it’ll be hard for Tampa to make up that ground. The Rays largely have divisional games remaining — six against Toronto, two against Boston — while Baltimore will face the Astros, Guardians and Nationals before ending the season with four games at home against the Red Sox.