While most of us have the day off, baseball isn't taking the day off and everybody is in action for the holiday. But go to bed early, there's school tomorrow!
As of today, the biggest leader remains the team with the majors best record, the New York Mets. They lead the Phillies by 16 games in the NL East and have a magic number of 11.
The biggest lead in the AL belongs to the Yankees in the AL East. The Yankees lead the Red Sox by nine games and have a magic number of 18.
Elsewhere, Oakland leads the AL West by 7 1/2 games over the Angels and sport a magic number of 19. Detroit leads Chicago by 4 1/2 games in the Central and has a magic number of 22.
In the other two NL divisions, St. Louis now leads Cincinnati by six games after the Reds went to the West Coast and lost 8 of 10. The Cardinals have a magic number of 21. The Dodgers lead San Diego by three games in the NL West and have a magic number of 24.
The White Sox lead the AL wild card by 1/2 game over the Twins. San Diego leads in the NL by 1 1/2 games over Philadelphia and 2 games over Florida. The Giants and Reds are 2 1/2 games out.
In one of the first games of the day, Florida will host Arizona at 10:05 am PT (Enrique Gonzalez vs. Brian Moehler). Also at 10:05 am, Seattle will play at Detroit (Jarrod Washburn vs. Nate Robertson) and St. Louis will be Washington (Jason Marquis vs. Ramon Ortiz). A Washington loss coupled with a Mets win would eliminate the Nationals in the divisional race although they still have a shot at the wild card.
The Twins will face the Devil Rays at 10:15 am PT (Boof Bonser vs. Tim Corcoran). If the Devil Rays lose or the White Sox win later in the day, the Devil Rays will be mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. Right now, the best the Devil Rays could manage would be a three-way tie for the wild card with Minnesota and Chicago.
The Dodgers play at Milwaukee, losers of 10 straight, at 11:05 am PT (Greg Maddux vs. Dave Bush).
The Phillies, who seem to be just well enough to toy with their fans hopes, play at Houston, another team that does the same thing, at 12:05 pm PT. This will matchup Roger Clemens and Cole Hamels. Feel free to punctuate Cole Hamels as you see fit.
Texas plays at Oakland at 1:05 pm PT (Robinson Tejeda vs. Barry Zito). The Athletics are 29-15 against AL West opponents.
Cincinnati returns home and hopes to gain some revenge on the NL West teams that have soured their season. The Reds host San Francisco at 2:10 pm PT (Brad Hennessey vs. Aaron Harang). Barry Bonds is 16-for-32 in his last 11 games with five home runs.
The battle of the Sox will be fought in Boston at 4:05 pm PT. Jon Garland will be pitching for the White variety and Julian Tavarez will be pitching for the Red ones. Tavarez claims that Manny Ramirez will return to the lineup. David Ortiz is still out. Trot Nixon and Jason Varitek may play as well.
The Mets return home and host the Braves at 4:10 pm PT (Chuck James vs. Steve Trachsel). The Braves are 19 1/2 games back of the Mets.
The Yankees will be in Kansas City for a 5:10 pm PT game (Chien-Ming Wang vs. Luke Hudson). The Royals won four of their last games that they have played against playoff contenders Minnesota and Chicago. Hudson started six games in August and gave up 3, 3, 11, 1, 6, and 2 runs in each of them. The Yankees have won five of six from Kansas City, but all of the games were in New York.
The last game of major consequence will start at 6:05 pm when the Padres host the Rockies (Josh Fogg vs. Woody Williams). The Rockies have won 10 of 16 against the Padres this year.
They will also play:
Cleveland at Toronto - The game could be the first matchup between a pitcher born in Indonesia (Cleveland's Tom Mastny) and a player born in Guam (Toronto's John Hattig).
Pittsburgh at Chicago - The Bucs get their last chance to face the Cubs head-to-head in the battle to get out of last place in the NL
Baltimore at Los Angeles of Anaheim - Stay up late to see if Jered Weaver can end his two-game losing streak.