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Seven spots left, fourteen teams gone
2008-09-19 22:29
by Bob Timmermann

Cleveland exited the scene even though they won their fourth straight game as the White Sox administered the death blow with a win at Kansas City.

There could be a whole lot of clinching going on Saturday. The Cubs will clinch the NL Central with either a win at home against St. Louis or a Milwaukee loss in Cincinnati. Those games will be played at the same time.

In the AL, Tampa Bay's magic number for clinching a playoff spot is 1. The Rays will clinch a spot with a win over Minnesota. If the Rays lose, they can still clinch a playoff spot if the White Sox (at KC) and Yankees (at home against Baltimore) both lose.

Boston can clinch a playoff spot with a win at Toronto and losses by ew York AND either Minnesota or Chicago.

And the Mets have reclaimed the lead in the NL East over the Phillies, although the stumbling Brewers are making that race a bit less intense. The Marlins have won 9 straight games but are still 4 1/2 out of the wild card, tied with Houston.

Here are the magical numbers:

Division Leaders

  • Cubs (NL Central) - 1 (Cubs and Brewers both lose)
  • Dodgers (NL West) - 6 (Dodgers and Diamondbacks lose)
  • White Sox (AL Central) - 7 (White Sox win and Twins lose)
  • Rays (AL East) - 9 (Rays and Red Sox win. Rays magic number to clinch playoff spot is 1. If the Rays clinch a spot this weekend, then the magic number to win the division will drop one more as the Rays own a tiebreaker edge for the division over Boston with a 10-8 season series edge.)
  • Mets (NL East) -  9 (Mets win and Phillies lose to switch places)

Wild card leaders

  • Red Sox - 2 (Red Sox win and Twins lose. Yankees now join equation.)
  • Phillies - 7 (Mets win, Phillies lose, and Brewers lose)

Is this the end of Rico?

Toronto can be eliminated tomorrow. But that can only happen if the Blue Jays lose at home to Boston. The Yankees can be eliminated if they lose AND the Red Sox win.

There's No Place Like Home

The Angels will clinch home field advantage throughout the postseason with a combination of wins and losses by Tampa Bay that adds up to 8. Tampa Bay would get home field against the Angels in case the two finish with the same record. The team with the best record in the AL will get the option of picking which Division Series schedule to follow, one of which will start on October 1 and the other on October 2. The tentative schedule can be found here.

Games to be Played if Necessary

Cubs at Houston, Detroit at White Sox, both on September 29. Oakland and Baltimore also could make up a game on September 25. These are looking less and less necessary.

The Race to #30

The standings:

Seattle 57 96    .373
Washington 58 96 1/2 .375
San Diego 59 95 1 1/2 .383

Remaining games left:

  • Washington (8) -  2 vs San Diego, 3 vs Florida, 3 at Philadelphia
  • San Diego (8) -   2 at Washington, 3 at Los Angeles, 3 vs Pittsburgh
  • Seattle (9) -   2 at Oakland, 4 vs Los Angeles, 3 vs Oakland

The big game in the titantic San Diego-Washington series at Nats Park went to the Padres, 11-6 in 14 innings. However, the Mariners doggedly refuse to win a game.

Saturday's Games of Note

Milwaukee (Sabathia) at Cincinnati (Cueto), St. Louis (Pineiro) at Chicago (Lilly), Philadelphia (Blanton) at Florida (Sanchez), New York (Martinez) at Atlanta (Campillo), Arizona (Davis) at Colorado (Cook), San Francisco (Hennessey) at Los Angeles (Kuroda), Baltimore (Burress) at New York (Aceves), Boston (Lester) at Toronto (Halladay), Minnesota (Slowey) at Tampa Bay (Kazmir), Chicago (Floyd) at Kansas City (Davies)

Contenders Schedules

  • Tampa Bay (10) - 2 vs Minnesota, 4 at Baltimore (includes doubleheader), 4 at Detroit
  • Boston (9) - 2 at Toronto, 4 vs Cleveland, 3 vs New York
  • Chicago White Sox (9) - 2 at Kansas City, 3 at Minnesota, 3 vs Cleveland, 1 vs Detroit if needed
  • Minnesota (8) - 2 at Tampa Bay, 3 vs Chicago, 3 vs Kansas City
  • Philadelphia (8) -  2 at Florida, 3 vs Atlanta, 3 vs Washington
  • New York (9) -  2 at Atlanta, 4 vs Chicago, 3 vs Florida
  • Chicago Cubs (10) -  3 vs St. Louis, 4 at New York, 3 at Milwaukee, 1 at Houston if needed
  • Milwaukee (8) -  2 at Cincinnati, 3 vs Pittsburgh, 3 vs Chicago
  • Los Angeles (8) -  2 vs San Francisco, 3 vs San Diego, 3 at San Francisco
  • Arizona (9) -  2 at Colorado, 4 at St. Louis, 3 vs Colorado

Teams Frozen In Place

  • Los Angels Angels (1st in AL West)
  • Seattle (4th in AL West)
  • Baltimore (5th in AL East)
  • Atlanta (4th in NL East)
  • Washington (5th in NL East)
  • San Diego (5th in NL West)
2008-09-19 23:08:34
1.   yankee23
Is it worth mentioning that I'll be on hand for tomorrow night's thrilling showdown between the Nats and the Padres?

And that's just the undercard, for the main event we'll be watching Field of Dreams after the game.


2008-09-19 23:42:03
2.   Bob Timmermann
May God have mercy on your soul.
2008-09-20 00:07:16
3.   MC Safety
2008-09-20 01:20:15
4.   Zak
3 good things about the Nats-Pads game:
2008-09-20 10:47:17
5.   yankee23
4 I'll have to get back to you on that.

Oh wait! Here's one. We won't be receiving camouflage floppy hats tonight as that was last nights promotion. (

2008-09-20 10:49:45
6.   Bob Timmermann
Those might be the ugliest hats I've ever seen.
2008-09-20 11:02:13
7.   yankee23
6 They truly are horrible. I was lucky enough to see a few of them on the MARC train last night.

This tells me two (frightening?) things: (a) These people seem to find these things at least moderately fashionable, and (b) some fans actually stayed for the entirety of a 5 hour contest between these teams.

2008-09-20 11:18:48
8.   Eric Stephen
Bob, I like the "teams frozen in place" addition!

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