The Oakland Athletics were one of the biggest surprises in the playoff race this season, but they recently received a very unpleasant surprise. ESPN has reported that Bartolo Colon has tested positive for testosterone and that he will be suspended for 50 games.
Even though Colon is not the ace that he used to be, this still shakes up a few American League playoff races. Colon was having a very good year for the Athletics, going 10-9 with a 3.43 ERA.
Oakland recently acquired Stephen Drew to try to improve their playoff chances, but this news almost certainly cancels that move out.
The Athletics will likely turn to one of their young starting pitchers such as Dan Straily to try and help them make the postseason. However, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, Straily cannot be brought up until he has been in the minors for 10 days.
Casey Pratt of Comcast SportsNet Bay Area notes that Billy Beane said that the Athletics will be bringing up Tyson Ross to replace Colon for the time being.
With the addition of the second wild card this year, the races for the two spots have been very tight. The Baltimore Orioles are right in the thick of things for one of those two positions.
One of the Orioles' biggest competitors for a wild-card spot this season has been the Oakland Athletics. Now that the Athletics do not have Bartolo Colon in their starting rotation for the stretch run, the Orioles could start to pull away from them in the standings.
After reaching the postseason in each of the past two years, the Tampa Bay Rays are looking to get back there once again. They have done well this year, but they still trail the New York Yankees in the American League East.
However, the Rays are currently leading the wild-card race, and they no longer have to worry about facing Colon in their series against the Athletics.
The Detroit Tigers were considered the favorites to win the American League Central this season, but they are currently sitting in second place in the division (h/t Chris Lott of MLive). They are in striking range of the AL Central crown, and the Tigers also have a good chance at the wild card.
Detroit will need to get hot in September to reach the postseason. The Oakland Athletics were likely one bump on the road to the postseason for the Tigers, but now it appears that they should be able to cruise right past them.
After signing Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson this winter, the Los Angeles Angels were expecting to be a playoff team in 2012. So far, they are not doing a great job of living up to those expectations.
The Angels currently find themselves far behind the Texas Rangers for the American League West lead, but they still have a chance to win the wild card. Los Angeles is currently behind the Athletics in the standings, but since the A's will not have Bartolo Colon on the mound every five days, the Angels could quickly catch up to them.