The playoff races changed only a little bit on Thursday as many of the leaders were off. Nobody clinched a spot and nobody was eliminated.
Here are the magical numbers:
Cubs (NL Central) - 11 (Cubs win and Brewers lose)
Mets (NL East) - 14 (Mets off and Phillies win)
Dodgers (NL West) - 14 (Dodgers and Diamondbacks idle)
Rays (AL East) - 16 (Rays and Red Sox were idle)
White Sox (AL Central) - 16 (White Sox lose as do the Twins)
Wild card leaders
Red Sox - 12 (Red Sox idle and Twins lose)
Brewers - 13 (Brewers lose and Phillies and Astros both win)
Going, going ...
No team can be eliminated Friday. 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 17. Tampa Bay would get home field against the Angels in case they finish with the same record.
Friday's Games of Note
Most notably, the Cubs and Astros won't play as the threat of Hurricane Ike has postponed Friday and Saturday's game in Houston. Sunday's game is scheduled to be played and the Astros are hoping to play a doubleheader Sunday and a single game on Monday. The alternative would be to make up the games after the season is over. That's not a very popular idea.
NL wild card leader Milwaukee is hoping to hold on to its three game lead over the Phillies and Astros, but they still have three more games left in Philadelphia.
In the bizarre world of the AL East (because Tampa Bay is ahead), the first place Rays may catch a break on the road facing the stumbling Yankees in their final Yankee Stadium homestand. The Red Sox are at home for four games against red hot Toronto.
Other games of import: Atlanta (Hampton) at New York (Santana), Los Angeles (Billingsley) at Colorado (Francis), Cincinnati (Harang) at Arizona (Webb), Minnesota (Baker) at Baltimore (Cabrera), Detroit (Verlander) at Chicago (Danks).
The Race to #30
San Diego 57-90 1/2 GB
Seattle 57-88 1 1/2 GB
Pittsburgh 60-86 4 GB
Remaining games left:
Washington - 3 at Florida, 4 vs New York, 3 vs San Diego, 3 vs Florida, 3 at Philadelphia
San Diego - 3 vs San Francisco, 3 at Colorado, 3 at Washington, 3 at Los Angeles, 3 vs Pittsburgh
Seattle - 3 at Los Angeles (Anaheim), 4 at Kansas City, 3 at Oakland, 4 vs Los Angeles, 3 vs Oakland
Pittsburgh - 3 vs St. Louis, 4 vs Los Angeles, 3 vs Houston, 3 at Milwaukee, 3 at San Diego