If the weather holds up, there will be 18 games in the majors today. There will be two doubleheaders instances where two teams happen to be playing two games on the same day. Arizona and Washington will try to get in their first two meetings of the year and Atlanta will try to get in two at Philadelphia as well trying to figure out how to get in two more games Sunday.
The Phillies are scheduled to play their first game against the Braves at 10:05 am PT at Citizens Bank Park, Oscar Villareal should face Jon Lieber. The second game is scheduled at 4:05 pm PT (Kyle Davies vs. Scott Mathieson). The Phillies trail the Mets by 16 games in the East and the Padres by 1/2 game in the wild card. The Mets have a magic number of 14. The Mets will be at Houston at 4:05 pm PT (John Maine vs. Jason Hirsh).
The Yankees lead Boston in the AL East by eight games and play Minnesota at 10:05 am PT (Scott Baker vs. Jeff Karstens). The Twins trail Chicago by 1/2 game for the wild card. Since taking a 1 1/2 game lead over the White Sox in the wild card last Saturday, the Twins have lost four of five games and have scored just eight runs. The Yankees have a magic number of 21.
AL West leading Oakland, with a magic number of 20 and an 8 1/2 game lead over the Angels, plays at 1:05 pm PT at home against Baltimore (Adam Loewen vs. Dan Haren).
Detroit leads Chicago now by 5 1/2 games in the Central. The Tigers, with a magic number of 21, host the Angels at 4:05 pm PT (Joe Saunders vs. Justin Verlander). The White Sox are at Kansas City at 4:10 pm PT (Mark Buehrle vs. Odalis Perez).
NL Central leaders St. Louis, leading Cincinnati by five games, hosts Pittsburgh at 4:15 pm PT in a game matching Shawn Chacon and Jeff Weaver. Look for lots of relievers.
The Reds, who trail the Padres by a 1/2 game in the wild card (with Philadelphia in between them by a margin of .00005 over the Reds), are at San Diego at 7:05 pm PT (Kyle Lohse vs. Jake Peavy). The Dodgers, leading the Padres by four in the West, host Colorado at 7:10 pm PT (Aaron Cook vs. Brad Penny).
Florida sits two games out of the wild card although they are two games below .500 (66-68). Florida will be at Milwaukee, losers of eight straight, at 4:05 pm PT (Josh Johnson vs. Ben Sheets).
If the Padres win and the Phillies win both games, they would be tied for the wild card lead. If the Padres lose and the Phillies win both games, Philadelphia takes over the wild card. The Reds could move back into the wild card lead with a win over the Padres and if the Phillies lose a game to Atlanta. There have been 12 players who have played for San Diego, Cincinnati, and Philadelphia in their careers, including the irrepressible Benito Santiago.
They will also play:
Arizona at Washington (twice!) - Livan Hernandez makes a triumphal return to RFK?
Toronto at Boston - The Red Sox are without Manny Ramirez (knee), David Ortiz (precautionary heart tests), Jonathan Papelbon (shoulder strain), and Curt Schilling (strain in his side). Kevin Jarvis starts for the Sox.
San Francisco at Chicago - Giants pretend to be relevant in 2006 wild card race
Seattle at Tampa Bay - The DRays will be eliminated from the AL East race with a loss and a win by the Yankees. And possibly from the playoffs overall, if my math is right as well as these guys.
Cleveland at Texas - The Indians are making a late run at the .500 mark.
With the first Saturday of college football starting, please ensure that your couch is in the proper condition for a day of sloth and that you have learned the most efficient way to flip between channels.