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Four spots left, eighteen teams gone, Volume III
2008-09-24 23:15
by Bob Timmermann

Nobody clinched and nobody was eliminated Wedneday night but two teams came to the brink of division titles, while the NL East, NL Wild Card, and AL Central all got very tight. And even Houston has a ray of hope.

Here are the magical numbers:

Division Leaders

  • Rays (AL East) - 1 (Rays and Red Sox win. Tampa Bay just needs to finish in a tie to win the AL East because of a 10-8 series edge over Boston. Tampa Bay can clinch division title with win at Detroit Thursday or a loss by Boston)
  • Dodgers (NL West) - 1 (Dodgers win and Diamondbacks lose.)
  • Phillies (NL East) -  3 (Phillies and Mets lose.)
  • White Sox (AL Central) - 5 (Twins beat White Sox to close gap to 1/2 game.)

Wild card leaders

  • Mets - 5 (Mets lose and Brewers win to create tie)

Heading for home?

Houston will be eliminated Wednesday if they lose at home to Cincinnati AND the Mets beat the Cubs at Shea or the Brewers beat the Pirates in Milwaukee. Arizona will be eliminated with a loss at St. Louis Thursday afternoon or if the Dodgers beat San Diego in Los Angeles in the evening.

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 3. 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. The AL East champion (Rays or Red Sox) will be at home for the first round.

In the NL, the Cubs will be at home for the NLDS and they would be the home team in the NLCS. The NL East champion (Phillies or Mets) will be the #2 team.

Games to be Played if Necessary

Cubs at Houston, Detroit at White Sox, both on September 29. The Cubs-Astros game will only be played if the Astros end up on Sunday 1/2 game either way of the wild card. Houston will need to win its next four games to make this possible. The White Sox would play their game if they end up on Sunday 1/2 game ahead or behind of Minnesota in the AL Central.

The Race to #30

The standings:

Seattle 58 100    .367
Washington 59 99 1 .373
San Diego 61 97 3 .386

Remaining games left:

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

Seattle lost their 100th game and lowered their reverse magic number to four. Any combination of Seattle losses and Washington wins that add up to four will guarantee the Mariners the worst record.

Thursday's Games of Note

Arizona (Davis) at St. Louis (Pineiro), Chicago (Harden) at New York (Martinez), Pittsburgh (Duke) at Milwaukee (Gallardo), San Diego (Peavy) at Los Angeles (Maddux), Tampa Bay (Kazmir) at Detroit (Gallaraga), Cleveland (Sowers) at Boston (Lester), Chicago (Floyd) at Minnesota (Slowey). Philadelphia is off.

Contenders Schedules

  • Tampa Bay (4) -   4 at Detroit
  • Boston (4) -  1 vs Cleveland, 3 vs New York
  • Chicago White Sox (5) -  1 at Minnesota, 3 vs Cleveland, 1 vs Detroit if needed
  • Minnesota (4) -  1 vs Chicago, 3 vs Kansas City
  • Philadelphia (3) -    3 vs Washington
  • New York (4) -   1 vs Chicago, 3 vs Florida
  • Milwaukee (4) -   1 vs Pittsburgh, 3 vs Chicago
  • Los Angeles (4) -   1 vs San Diego, 3 at San Francisco
  • Arizona (4) -   1 at St. Louis, 3 vs Colorado

Teams Frozen In Place

  • Los Angels Angels (1st in AL West)
  • Seattle (4th in AL West)
  • Cleveland (3rd in AL Central)
  • Baltimore (5th in AL East)
  • Florida (3rd in NL East)
  • Atlanta (4th in NL East)
  • Washington (5th in NL East)
  • Chicago (1st in NL Central)
  • Cincinnati (5th in NL Central)
  • Pittsburgh (6th in NL Central)
  • San Diego (5th in NL West)


If needed, Minnesota would play at Chicago for the AL Central. In the NL, the Phillies would host the Mets to decide the NL if the two teams finish with a record the same as or worse than Milwaukee. If Milwaukee, Philadelphia, and New York finish with the same record, New York would play at Philadelphia to decide the NL East and the Brewers would play at the park of the losing team.

Other ties: Milwaukee at Philadelphia, Milwaukee at Houston, Milwaukee at New York, New York at Houston. These would all be for the wild card.

2008-09-25 09:25:56
1.   Ken Arneson
Who gets the first pick if Seattle and Washington tie?
2008-09-25 10:59:53
2.   Bob Timmermann
Washington prevails in any ties because of a worse record in 2007.

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