Wild cards in wild-card race

No player's defense will have a bigger impact on the race than Manny Machado's. Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun/MCT via Getty Images

With a couple of weeks left in the regular season, the race for the AL wild-card spots has gotten extremely tight. The race will likely come down to the wire for several teams, and what appear to be small contributions could be the difference between making the playoffs and having a long winter.

While much of the attention will be on the hot bats as September comes to a close, keep your eyes on these defensive situations that could make or break their respective teams.

Oakland Athletics: All pitchers

The Athletics have always been willing to get creative to find defensive advantages. However, there is not much they can do to help out their pitching staff, which has combined to cost the team 14 runs defensively, according to Baseball Info Solutions' defensive runs saved metric (DRS). Frequently, pitcher defense gets ignored unless it involves a left-hander with a really good pickoff move.