The time has come when magic numbers are being banded about. Yahoo.com now puts a (20) by the Mets. The Mets lead the second-place Phillies by 14 1/2 games. They play again today at Shea at 10:10 am PT (Jamie Moyer vs. John Maine).
In the Central, the Cardinals have gone ahead of the Reds by two games. The Reds finish up a four-game series in San Francisco at 1:05 pm PT (Kyle Lohse vs. Matt Cain). The Cardinals host the Cubs at 5:05 pm PT. Les Walrond faces Jeff Weaver in what should be a juicy matchup for ESPN.
Out West, the Dodgers hold on to a one-game lead over the Padres. San Diego is at Colorado at 12:05 pm PT with Jake Peavy facing Aaron Cook. The Dodgers will be at Arizona at 1:40 pm (Chad Billingsley vs. Livan Hernandez).
The Reds lead the Padres by a half-game in the wild card. If the Reds and Dodgers lose and the Padres win, the Reds would fall out of the wild card spot which would be shared by the Dodgers and Padres, who would also be tied for the NL West lead. If the Dodgers and Padres finished tied and would both qualify for the playoffs, the Padres would be the division champs as they have clinched the season series over the Dodgers already (11-3). The Phillies are 2 1/2 games behind the Reds in the wild card.
In the AL, the Twins stretched their lead in the wild card to 1 1/2 games over the White Sox. The Twins go for a sweep at Chicago at 11:05 am PT (Carlos Silva vs. Mark Buehrle). The Tigers now have the smallest lead of any division leader in the AL, just four games over Minnesota. Detroit is at Cleveland at 10:05 am PT (Kenny Rogers vs. Cliff Lee).
Oakland and New York each lead their divisions by 5 1/2 games. New York tries to avoid a sweep in Anaheim by the Angels, the second place team in the West, at 12:35 pm PT (Jeff Karstens vs. Joe Saunders). The second place team in the East, Boston tries to avoid a sweep in Seattle at 1:05 pm PT (Kyle Snyder vs. Cha Seung Baek). Oakland will play at Texas at 5:05 pm PT (Dan Haren vs. Vicente Padilla). The Rangers are nine games out.
They will also play: Milwaukee at Florida, Washington at Atlanta, Kansas City at Toronto (if the Royals lose they are eliminated from playoff contention), Houston at Pittsburgh (Willie Tavares goes for a 30-game hitting streak!), Tampa Bay at Baltimore.