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MLB Standings: Rays One Game Back In Wild Card Race

2012 is looking like another photo finish in the AL East.

A year after the Tampa Bay Rays clinched a playoff spot in the last day of the regular season, the playoff race is so muddled in the AL that an encore may be in an order.

After taking two of three from the Texas Rangers this weekend, the Rays are tied with the LA Angels at 77-63, one game behind the Baltimore Orioles for the second wild card spot and 2.5 games behind the Oakland A's.

To make things even more complicated, both Baltimore and Tampa Bay are breathing down the necks of the New York Yankees in the AL East. New York, at 79-61, is one game ahead of the Orioles and 2.5 games ahead of the Rays.

That's what makes the next week so pivotal for Joe Maddon's team: they have a six-game road trip in Baltimore and New York. Next Sunday, we might have a much better idea of their playoff fate, but as Tampa Bay found out in 2011, in baseball, it's never over until it's over.

For more coverage of the Rays, check out D Rays Bay as well as SB Nation Tampa Bay.

Photographs by cstreet.us, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.