By the time Friday's full slate of games are over, it's possible there could be a new leader in the NL Central, a tie in the NL West, and a new team in both league's wild card spots.
The Cardinals lead the Reds by a margin of .0004 in the NL Central because they have played two fewer games than the Reds.
Coming off a sweep in New York, the Cardinals return home to face their long time rivals and 2006 nemesis, the Cubs. The Cubs have won 11 of 16 games against the Cardinals. Over 20% of the Cubs wins this season have come against the Cardinals. They play at St. Louis at 5:10 pm PT (Juan Mateo vs. Jeff Suppan). The Reds will be at San Francisco at 7:15 pm PT (Aaron Harang vs. Matt Morris). If the Reds win and the Cardinals lose, the two teams will trade places as NL Central champs and wild card team.
In the West, the Dodgers lead the Padres by one game. The teams could be in a tie with a Dodgers loss and a Padres win. The Dodgers are at Arizona at 6:40 pm PT (Greg Maddux vs. Claudio Vargas). The Padres will be at Colorado at 6:05 pm PT (Mike Thompson vs. Jeff Francis). The Padres trail the Reds by 1 1/2 games for the NL wild card.
Philadelphia is now 2 1/2 games in back of Cincinnati for the wild card. The Phillies will play the team they trail in the East by 14 1/2 games, the Mets, at Shea Stadium at 4:10 pm PT (Randy Wolf vs. Brian Bannister).
In the American League, the White Sox stubbornly hold on to a 1/2 game lead on the wild card over Minnesota. The two teams start a three-game series at 5:35 pm PT in Chicago (Brad Radke vs. Javier Vazquez). The Twins lead the season series 7-6. The teams will meet again the last weekend of the regular season in Minnesota.
Detroit leads Chicago by 5 1/2 and Minnesota by 6 in the Central. The Tigers will be at Cleveland at 4:05 pm PT (Jeremy Bonderman vs. Jeremy Sowers).
The Yankees had their lead over Boston trimmed to 5 1/2 games Thursday. The Yankees will be at Anaheim to take on the Angels at 7:05 pm PT (Jaret Wright vs. John Lackey). The Red Sox will be at Seattle at 7:05 pm PT (Curt Schilling vs. Jake Woods).
Oakland, leading the Angels by 5 1/2 and the Rangers by 7, will be at Texas at 5:35 pm (Barry Zito vs. Edinson Volquez).
They also will play: Houston at Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay at Baltimore, Kansas City at Toronto, Milwaukee at Florida, Washington at Atlanta.
With their loss last night to Cleveland, Kansas City was mathematically elminated from winning the AL Central. They are still alive for the wild card. Actually, I think the Royals were mathematically eliminated in the Central a couple days ago, but I lost track.