Odds still on your side, Royals fans!

I wouldn’t blame you for thinking the Royals are in trouble.

Purely in terms of talent, they’re not as good as the Tigers. The Royals’ half-game lead in the Central is even smaller than it seems, since the Royals are losing to the Indians in the 10th inning of a game that will be completed in a few weeks

The Royals’ two-game lead over the Mariners in the wild-card standings doesn’t seem safe at all, considering the Royals have a +23 run differential, and the Mariners are +91.

But color me an optimist! Because the Royals are still a pretty decent bet for the playoffs … because believe it or not, the math’s still on their side.

Are they likely to finish ahead of the Tigers? No, they’re not.

Are they likely to finish ahead of the Mariners? Maybe by just a tiny smidge, since a two-game lead does mean something in early September.

But of course the Royals don’t need to finish ahead of the Tigers and the Mariners; they just need to beat out one of those clubs.

I’m discounting the chances of the Yankees and the Indians, by the way. Freakier things have happened. But chances are quite good that this will come down to three teams for two spots. And unlike the Mariners, the Tigers and the Royals both have two available slots. Which is why both have significantly better chances of qualifying for the tournament.