The National League wild card races are officially a mess. There was a formal declaration of a mess issued by the Commissioner's Office. When such a declaration has been made, it's best to just wait until all the games are over at the end of the day and see who's ahead.
First of all, the divisional leaders have started to pull away again. The Mets lead the Phillies by 15 1/2 games in the East and have a magic number of 18 to make the playoffs. The Mets start a three-game series at Colorado at 6:05 pm PT (Steve Trachsel vs. Byung-Hyun Kim). The Mets are 19-7 against the NL West.
St. Louis which led Cincinnati by .0004 in the standings at the start of play Friday now lead the Reds by 3 1/2 games. The Cardinals host Florida, which has won eight straight, at 5:10 pm PT (Scott Olsen vs. Mark Mulder).
Los Angeles stretched its lead to three games in the West over San Diego. The Dodgers host the Reds at 7:10 pm PT (Eric Milton vs. Mark Hendrickson).
The Reds lead the Padres by a 1/2 game in the wild card. The Padres are at Arizona at 6:40 pm PT (Chris Young vs. Enrique Gonzalez). The Phillies are just one game back and play at Washington at 4:05 pm PT (Brett Myers vs. Tony Armas). If the Reds win, they hold on to the wild card lead. If the Reds lose and the Padres win, the Padres would lead the wild card by 1/2 game. If the Reds and Padres lose and the Phillies win, the Phillies would take over the lead in the wild card by a margin of .0001 (.5038 to .5037).
The Giants are just 1 1/2 games back of the Reds and the Giants will be in Atlanta at 4:35 pm PT (Jason Schmidt vs. Tim Hudson).
The AL is much tidier. Two divisions are seeing their leaders pull away from the pack. The Yankees lead the Red Sox by seven games. In the West, Oakland now leads the Angels by 6 1/2 games. Detroit leads Minnesota in the Central by five games.
Detroit opens up a three-game series at New York at 4:05 pm PT (Nate Robertson vs. Chien-Ming Wang). Oakland hosts Boston at 7:05 pm PT (Josh Beckett vs. Kirk Saarloos).
Minnesota leads Chicago in the wild card by 1/2 game and both teams are starting series against the bottom feeders of the AL. The White Sox host Tampa Bay at 5:05 pm PT (Casey Fossum vs. Freddie Garcia). The Twins host the Royals at 5:10 pm PT (Mark Redman vs. Matt Garza). Both Tampa Bay and Kansas City are 18-48 on the road this season. Tampa Bay has lost 10 straight road games and has not won on the road since they beat the Yankees 19-6 on July 29. The Royals will have a big effect on the winner of the Central as their last ten games are against the Tigers and Twins.
They will also play:
Chicago at Pittsburgh - Will the Cubs get a complete game this year?
Toronto at Cleveland
Baltimore at Texas
Milwaukee at Houston - Willy Taveras goes for 31 games in a row!
Los Angeles at Seattle - Jered Weaver faces Jarrod Washburn. Loser has to change the spelling of his first name.