One playoff spot changed hands yesterday, the AL wild card, and two division leaders increased their leads, three saw their leads shrink, and one stood pat. And the NL wild card race made me look up the spelling of the word "quadripartite."
The Mets are still the team closest to clinching a spot in the postseason, with a magic number of 11, and a 15 game lead over the Phillies. After giving up just one hit in a loss to the Astros Sunday, the Mets went and got just one hit at home against the combined efforts of Chuck James and Macay McBride of Atlanta. The two teams go at it again at 4:10 pm PT (John Smoltz vs. Dave Williams).
The Cardinals were almost no-hit by Ramon Ortiz in Washington Monday, but still managed to maintain their 6-game lead on Cincinnati. The Redbirds and Nats play again at RFK at 4:05 pm PT (Jeff Suppan vs. Pedro Astacio).
In the West, the Dodgers lost and the Padres won to cut L.A.'s lead to just two games. The Dodgers play at Milwaukee at 5:05 pm (Mark Hendrickson vs. Doug Davis.) The Dodgers have a magic number of 24.
The Padres lead the NL wild card race by 1 1/2 games over Philadelphia, 2 games over Florida, and 2 1/2 games over San Francisco. So it's time for the great quadripartite pennant race. There have been two players who have have played for San Diego, Philadelphia, Florida, and San Francisco in their careers. Yep, these guys.
Florida, which has come back from an 11-31 start to 69-68 (or 57-31 in that stretch) hosts slumping Arizona, losers of six straight, at 4:05 pm (Claudio Vargas vs. Dontrelle Willis). The Phillies host the Astros at the same time (Andy Pettitte vs. Randy Wolf). The Giants are at Cincinnati at 4:10 pm PT (Matt Morris vs. Bronson Arroyo). The Padres host the Rockies at 7:05 pm PT (Jeff Francis vs. Chris Young).
In the AL Central, the Tigers lead in the division increased to five games and the Tigers have a magic number of 21. The Tigers will be at home to Seattle in a 4:05 pm game (Jake Woods vs. Jeremy Bonderman).
AL East leading New York held on to a nine-game lead thanks to a 10-run eighth inning in Kansas City. The Yankees and Royals hook up again at 5:10 pm PT (Mike Mussina vs. Jorge de la Rosa). The Yankees have a magic number of 17.
Oakland's lead in the West was cut to 6 1/2 games over the Angels and the magic number held at 19. Oakland plays Texas at home at 7:05 pm PT (Adam Eaton vs. Kirk Saarloos).
The Twins took back the wild card lead with a 2-1 win over the Devil Rays on the road while the White Sox lost in extra innings in Boston, 3-2. Minnesota plays Tampa Bay at Tropicana Field at 4:15 pm PT (Johan Santana vs. Jae Seo). Chicago is at Boston at 4:05 pm PT (Javier Vazquez vs. Kason Gabbard).
They will also play:
Cleveland at Toronto - Roy Halladay tries for win #17.
Pittsburgh at Chicago - Pirates have a chance to move out of last place for the first time all season and the Cubs could be eliminated in the Chicago Metro Area battle.
Baltimore at Los Angeles of Anaheim - Angels flirt with being relevant in AL West pennant race and passing the Dodgers in the LA/Orange County Metro Area battle. The O's lead the Nats by one game in their metro area fight.