MLB Standings: AL Races Tighten Up, NL Wild Card Wide Open

TORONTO, CANADA - SEPTEMBER 16: Dustin Pedroia #15 of the Boston Red Sox gets set to relay to first against the Toronto Blue Jays in a MLB game on September 16, 2012 at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Canada. The Blue Jays defeated the Red Sox 5-0. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

As the MLB season winds down, a number of American League pennant races are coming down to the wire including a three-way battle in the AL East. In the National League, the division leaders have some breathing room, but the wild card race is jam packed.

Even with the struggles of the Boston Red Sox in 2012, the American League East is once again one of the toughest divisions in baseball. With three teams separated by just five games, the AL East is the closest divisional race heading into the latter half of September.

The New York Yankees (83-63) are holding off the Baltimore Orioles (82-64) by just one game for the division's top spot. The Tampa Bay Rays (78-68), sitting in third place, are not out of the race yet at five games back with 16 games left to play. The Red Sox at 66-81 are last in the division and one game behind the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Chicago White Sox (79-66) are holding on to a two-game lead over the Detroit Tigers (77-68) in the AL Central. In the AL West, the Oakland A's (84-62) trail the Texas Rangers (87-59) by three games. Oakland and Baltimore currently occupy the two AL wild card spots, with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (80-67) two and a half games behind the Orioles.

The closest divisional race in the National League is in the NL East where the Atlanta Braves (84-63) have won three straight to pull within 5 1/2 games of the division-leading Washington Nationals (89-57). The Cincinnati Reds (88-59) and San Francisco Giants (83-63) lead the NL Central and West, respectively.

The NL wild card is still very much up for grabs with eight teams all within six games of the final playoff spot. Atlanta and the St. Louis Cardinals (77-70) currently hold the two NL wild card spots.

For full standings from around the league, click here.

Read more on the Red Sox at Over the Monster and SB Nation Boston. Baseball Nation is your source for news and analysis from around Major League Baseball as the pennant races heat up.

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