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Three spots left, nineteen teams gone
2008-09-25 23:58
by Bob Timmermann

The Dodgers joined the playoff party, just leaving three spots unfilled: the NL East, the NL Wild Card, and the AL Central. And it may not be until Tuesday until we find out who is in all those spots.

Here are the magical numbers:

Division Leaders

  • Rays (AL East) - 1 (Rays lose 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 Friday or a loss by Boston) 
  • Phillies (NL East) -  3 (Phillies idle and Mets win.)
  • Twins (AL Central) - 4 (Twins beat White Sox to take over lead.)

Wild card leaders

  • Mets, Brewers - 4 (Mets and Brewers win.)

Are you still here?

Houston will be eliminated Friday if they lose at home to Atlanta OR the Mets beat the Marlins at Shea OR the Brewers beat the Cubs in Milwaukee. In theory all the races could be decided by Saturday. They probably won't, but they could be.

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 1. 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 three games and the Mets and Brewers to BOTH lose three games in a row to make this possible. Then if the Astros beat the Cubs, there would be a three-way tie for the wild card. That wouldn't finish until Wednesday.

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 58 101    .365
Washington 59 99 1 1/2 .373

The Mariners will clinch the worst record with their next loss or a win by Washington. The Mariners were aided by Washington having a game canceled Thursday night by rain. Seattle finishes with three games at home against Oakland, while Washington plays three games in Philadelphia. San Diego was knocked out of the competition with a win over the Dodgers.

Friday's Games of Note

Washington (Balester) at Philadelphia (Blanton), Florida (Volstad) at New York (Pelfrey), Chicago (Dempster) at Milwaukee (Suppan),  Atlanta (Campillo) at Houston (Moehler), New York (Aceves) at Boston (Matsuzaka), Tampa Bay (Sonnanstine) at Detroit (Verlander), Kansas City (Davies) at Minnesota (Liriano), Cleveland (Lewis) at Chicago (Danks)

Contenders Schedules

  • Tampa Bay (3) -   3 at Detroit
  • Boston (3) -  3 vs New York
  • Chicago White Sox (4) -  3 vs Cleveland, 1 vs Detroit if needed
  • Minnesota (3) -   3 vs Kansas City
  • Philadelphia (3) -    3 vs Washington
  • New York (3) -   3 vs Florida
  • Milwaukee (3) -    3 vs Chicago
  • Houston (4) - 3 vs Atlanta, 1 vs Chicago if needed

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)
  • All five teams in the NL West will finish in their current positions


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.

How the Weather Will Be?

A Nor'easter is expected to hit the Nor'east. Games in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia could all be affected. The final weekend of the season may involve doubleheaders.


2008-09-26 02:03:28
1.   berkowit28
"Tampa Bay can clinch division title with win at Detroit Thursday or a loss by Boston"

Thursday? Or Friday?

2008-09-26 05:56:28
2.   bobsbrother
I don't ask for much in life, but having to have the White Sox play their makeup game on Monday and then have to play a tiebreaker on Tuesday would be cool.

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