The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have no more magic number to make the playoffs and they can coast the final two and half weeks.
The NL division races are getting some separation and the Rays 4-2 win at Boston stretched out their lead to 2 1/2 games in the AL East. Only the AL Central, where the White Sox lead the Twins by just one game, looks likely to come down to the final week.
The NL Wild Card sees the Brewers with a four game lead over Philadelphia and Houston. Houston?!? St. Louis is 4 1/2 games back. The Red Sox lead Minnesota by five games for the AL wild card.
Here are the magical numbers:
Cubs (NL Central) - 13 (Cubs win as do Brewers)
Mets (NL East) - 14 (Mets win and Phillies lose)
Dodgers (NL West) - 14 (Dodgers win and Diamondbacks lose)
Rays (AL East) - 16 (Rays beat Red Sox)
White Sox (AL Central) - 17 (White Sox win as do Twins)
Wild card leaders
Red Sox - 13 (Red Sox lose and Twins win)
Brewers - 13 (Brewers win and Phillies and Cardinals both lose. Astros now part of equation)
Going, going ...
Tomorrow no team can be eliminated. Texas is the next most likely team to go. The Rangers will be eliminated with a combination of Boston wins and Texas losses that add up to three. In the NL, the Marlins and Giants are both on shaky ground, but they should make it through the weekend.
There's No Place Like Home
The Angels will clinch home field advantage throughout the postseason with a combination of wins and losses by Tampa Bay that add up to 18. And the Angels have 17 games left, which means the Angels don't have much of an edge. Tampa Bay would get home field against the Angels in case they finish with the same record.
Thursday's Games of Note
Division leaders Mets, Dodgers, and Rays are all idle. Milwaukee starts a four-game series in Philadelphia and the Phillies trail the Brewers by four games in the wild card. Houston concludes its four-game series against Pittsburgh and then welcomes the Cubs and Hurricane Ike. St. Louis concludes a three-game series with the Cubs.
In the AL, Minnesota goes for a sweep in Kansas City in a day game and the White Sox play their final game of a 4-game set against the Blue Jays. Toronto's 10-game winning streak was snapped by Chicago Wednesday night. Boston is off.