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Five spots left, fourteen teams gone
2008-09-21 00:33
by Bob Timmermann

The Cubs and Rays both clinched playoff berths Saturday and both got do it at home by winning games. However, no team was eliminated because of the wild card. The Blue Jays and Yankees are still on shaky ground.

The Red Sox are the only team that can clinch a playoff spot on Sunday and that will require a win over Toronto and the Yankees losing what would be final home game at Yankee Stadium to Baltimore.

The Mets latest stay in first in the NL East lasted all of one day. The Phillies reclaimed the lead by a 1/2 game. That fraction will disappear Monday when the Mets host the Cubs while the Phillies have the day off.

The Dodgers lead Arizona by 3 1/2 games and that fraction will disappear on Monday as well when the Dodgers are off and the Diamondbacks play in St. Louis.

Here are the magical numbers:

Division Leaders

  • Dodgers (NL West) - 5 (Dodgers and Diamondbacks win)
  • White Sox (AL Central) - 6 (White Sox and Twins lose)
  • Rays (AL East) - 6 (Rays win and Red Sox lose. Tampa Bay just needs to finish in a tie to win the AL East because of a 10-8 series edge over Boston.)
  • Phillies (NL East) -  8 (Mets lose and Phillies win to switch places)

Wild card leaders

  • Red Sox - 2 (Red Sox win and Yankees win)
  • Mets - 6 (Mets lose, Phillies win, and Brewers lose)

This blue jay is just resting

Toronto can be eliminated Sunday. But that can only happen if the Blue Jays lose at home to Boston. The Yankees can be eliminated if they lose at home to Baltimore 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 7. 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. The Angels are guaranteed to start the Division Series at home.

In the NL, the Cubs are guaranteed to start the Division Series at home and their magic number to clinch homefield for the LCS is 2 over the Mets and Phillies. The Cubs lost the season series to the Phillies 3-4 and lead the series against the Mets 2-0, but have four games in New York still to play.

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 97    .370
Washington 58 97 1/2 .373
San Diego 60 95 1 1/2 .385

Remaining games left:

  • Washington (7) -  1 vs San Diego, 3 vs Florida, 3 at Philadelphia
  • San Diego (7) -   1 at Washington, 3 at Los Angeles, 3 vs Pittsburgh
  • Seattle (8) -   1 at Oakland, 4 vs Los Angeles, 3 vs Oakland

The Padres may be playing themselves out of last place in the majors after a 6-1 win at Washington. The Mariners are undaunted and have lost 10 straight games.

Sunday's Games of Note

Milwaukee (McClung) at Cincinnati (Arroyo), Philadelphia (Moyer) at Florida (Volstad), New York (Pelfrey) at Atlanta (Parr), Arizona (Haren) at Colorado (Reynolds), San Francisco (Cain) at Los Angeles (Lowe), Baltimore (Waters) at New York (Pettitte), Boston (Matsuzaka) at Toronto (Richmond), Minnesota (Liriano) at Tampa Bay (Sonnanstine), Chicago (Danks) at Kansas City (Duckworth)

Contenders Schedules

  • Tampa Bay (9) - 1 vs Minnesota, 4 at Baltimore (includes doubleheader), 4 at Detroit
  • Boston (8) - 1 at Toronto, 4 vs Cleveland, 3 vs New York
  • New York (7) - 1 vs Baltimore, 3 at Toronto, 3 at Boston
  • Chicago White Sox (8) - 1 at Kansas City, 3 at Minnesota, 3 vs Cleveland, 1 vs Detroit if needed
  • Minnesota (7) - 1 at Tampa Bay, 3 vs Chicago, 3 vs Kansas City
  • Philadelphia (7) -  1 at Florida, 3 vs Atlanta, 3 vs Washington
  • New York (8) -  1 at Atlanta, 4 vs Chicago, 3 vs Florida
  • Milwaukee (7) -  1 at Cincinnati, 3 vs Pittsburgh, 3 vs Chicago
  • Los Angeles (7) -  1 vs San Francisco, 3 vs San Diego, 3 at San Francisco
  • Arizona (8) -  1 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)
  • Chicago (1st in NL Central)
  • San Diego (5th in NL West)

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