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AL Playoff picture remains murky

The Texas Rangers could either be the top seed in the American League, or end up playing in the new Wild Card round of the playoffs.

Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

There's just three days left to go in the 2012 regular season, and we still don't know who is going to play who in the American League playoffs.

We do know that the Texas Rangers, New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles will be in the playoffs. To what capacity, though, is still unknown. Texas, New York and Baltimore all have identical floors and ceilings with respect to playoff seeding.

For the Rangers, it's quite simple. If Texas wins one game, they are AL West champions, and if they win two games, they'll be the top seed in the American League.

The only way the Rangers end up as a wild card team is if the Oakland Athletics sweep the Rangers, and that is unlikely at best.

The Yankees and Orioles, meanwhile, remain tied atop the AL East standings. The Yankees play the hated Boston Red Sox, while the O's head to Tampa Bay to take on the desperate Rays -- who are on life support.

The most likely scenario has the Yankees winning the AL East and the Rangers winning the AL West, making the Orioles and Athletics play in the brand spanking new Wild Card round. If the Rangers hold off the Yankees for best record, Texas will take on the winner of the Baltimore/Oakland game (assuming, of course, that the Yankees win the East), while the Yankees take on the Detroit Tigers.

Of course, absolutely none of this is set in stone. The Rangers, as inconceivable as it is, could end up as a wild card team, playing on Friday against either the Yankees or Orioles.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.