Monday October 01, 2012 | 05:51 AM

Red Sox fans might already be looking to the off-season, to see how this team can improve.

But any baseball fan has to appreciate the next three days. While the National League has only one post-season spot to settle (with the Cardinals holding a two-game lead on the Dodgers), the American League has the drama, with 8 teams still alive.

The Angels and Rays have slim hopes, both being three games out of the wild card. The Tigers are one win (or a White Sox loss) away from clinching their division, and eliminating Chicago.

The Rangers, Orioles and Yankees have all clinched a playoff spot, but none are assured their division title. The A's could unseat Texas with a three-game sweep in Oakland.

The Yankees and Orioles go into the final three games tied. While Baltimore has to play at pesky Tampa Bay, New York is home against the free-falling Red Sox.

Clay Buchholz (11-7, 4.22) gives Boston a chance. He has a 2.25 ERA in his last three games, but New York's CC Sabathia (14-6, 3.42) is also finishing strong.

The standings: 

Yankees 92-67
Orioles 92-67

Orioles or Yankees 92-67
A’s 91-68
Angels 88-71 (3 back)
Rays 88-71 (3)

1. Astros 52-106
Cubs 60-99
Rockies 62-97
Twins 66-93
Indians 67-92
Marlins 67-92
RED SOX 69-90
Blue Jays 70-89
Royals 71-88

About this Blog

Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.

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