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Wednesday's battles for playoff spots
2006-08-09 09:11
by Bob Timmermann

The AL wild card spot is still a three-way battle, but the order of the participants has changed as the Twins (66-46) have moved a half game up on the Red Sox (65-46) and a half game behind the White Sox (66-45).

The Twins play first at Detroit (4:10 pm PT Johan Santana vs. Jeremy Bonderman). The White Sox start at 5:05 pm PT at Kansas City (Randy Johnson vs. the pride of John F. Kennedy High, Jon Garland). The Red Sox, who have dropped four of their last five to the likes of Cleveland, Tampa Bay, and Kansas City will give it another shot at 5:10 pm PT. (Josh Beckett vs. All-star Mark Redman).

The NL could see a new leader in the NL West and a new team in the wild card spot. Or the same teams. Or a slightly different combination.

The Padres (58-54) lead the Dodgers (58-55) by a half game in the NL West. The Reds are tied for the Dodgers for the wild card at 58-55.

The Padres and Reds both start at the same time. San Diego will be at NL East leader New York in a 4:10 pm PT game (Clay Hensley vs. Pedro Martinez). NL Central leader St. Louis will be at Cincinnati in another 4:10 pm PT game (Chris Carpenter vs. Aaron Harang). The Dodgers will host the Rockies at 7:10 pm PT in hopes of winning their 12th straight game (Jeff Francis vs. Derek Lowe).

The Dodgers have not won 12 straight games since April 24-May 7, 1976. That stretch brought their record from 3-9 to 15-9.

And to complete the tour of division leaders, the team with the longest winning streak in the AL, Oakland, six games, leads the West by 3 games over the Angels. Oakland will host a matinee (12:35 pm PT) against the Rangers with Barry Zito facing Vicente Padilla. Oakland's 7-6 win last night ended on the rare 2 UDP as Mark DeRosa struck out and interfered with catcher Jason Kendall trying to throw out Jerry Hairston, who was trying to steal. Under scoring rules, that's not counted as caught stealing, but rather an unassisted putout for the catcher. For a runner, who is standing about 127 feet away.

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