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Thursday's tossups (August 31)
2006-08-31 05:00
by Bob Timmermann

Ten games on the docket today and none of them in the Pacific Time Zone, so let's all catch up on some sleep before the Labor Day Weekend.

The AL Central and East leaders play the last game of their three game series. Detroit will be at Yankee Stadium for a 10:05 am PT game (Jeremy Bonderman vs. Randy Johnson). The Yankees lead Boston by eight games and the Tigers lead the White Sox by 4 1/2 games.

In the West, Oakland leads the Angels by 7 1/2 games and both teams are off.

In the AL wild card, the White Sox stretched their lead over the Twins to 1 1/2 games. The Twins try to avoid a sweep at home to the Royals at 10:10 am PT (Jorge de la Rosa vs. Carlos Santana). The White Sox attempt to finish off a sweep of Tampa Bay, who have lost 12 straight on the road. They will play at 11:05 am PT (Jason Hammel vs. Javier Vazquez). The White Sox head to Kansas City for the weekend and the Twins will go to New York.

As for the National League, the Mets, now the owners of the best record in the majors, have a magic number of 16 to clinch the East. They lead the Phillies by 15 1/2 games. The Mets play the last game of the day at 6:05 pm PT at Colorado (Oliver Perez vs. Jeff Francis).

The Cardinals lead the Central by 4 1/2 games over Cincinnati. The Cardinals ended Florida's 9-game winning streak Wednesday and play the Marlins again at home at 5:10 pm PT (Dontrelle Willis vs. Jeff Suppan). If the Cardinals lose, they would drop to the #3 spot overall in the National League behind the idle Dodgers, who lead the Padres by three games in the West.

Philadelphia can catch idle San Diego for the wild card if the Phillies can beat the Nationals in Washington at 4:05 pm PT (Randy Wolf vs. Pedro Astacio). The Reds are now 1 1/2 games back in the wild card and the Marlins are 2 1/2 games back.

But if the Phillies and Padres continue their duel for the wild card, it will be time for me to dust off my long list of famous Philadelphia-San Diego playoff race battles. The teams are done with their season series, which the Padres won 4-2. The biggest problem with these two teams battling for a playoff spot is that they are two of the three teams (along with Toronto) that don't have their games shown on the MLB Extra Innings package. While this does keep people from having to listen to Matt Vasgersian unnecessarily on Padres broadcasts, it does keep people from watching Ryan Howard slam home runs for the Phillies. Howard's next home run will be a Phillies team record for a single season.

They will also play:
Toronto at Boston - Roy Halladay to face some guy in a Boston uniform who shows up
San Francisco at Atlanta - 13 years ago this would have been a lot more interesting
Baltimore at Texas - There is no way this could ever be interesting
Milwaukee at Houston - Six straight losses for the Brewers

2006-08-31 06:46:20
1.   Vishal
johan santana? or maybe carlos silva?
2006-08-31 07:33:30
2.   Bob Timmermann
My source said Johan Santana last night.
2006-08-31 10:48:45
3.   Bob Timmermann
According to BPro's playoff odds (linked on the sidebar), the Astros have moved back into contender status by my standards (over 10% chance). The Marlins are not contenders now.

I'm always a day late.

2006-08-31 11:25:15
4.   Linkmeister
I haven't looked at Bronx Banter, but I'll bet the anguish and rage went into overdrive yesterday in Game Two of that "doubleheader" when Rivera wasn't pitching the ninth. I happened to see that Tigers home run which put them ahead for good.

I have a soft spot for the Tigers; it might be the Old English script.

2006-08-31 11:25:49
5.   Eric Stephen
I actually like Matt Vasgersian. He does get unnecessarily excited at times, but he doesn't grate on me like, say, Rex Hudler or Rick Sutcliffe.

I used to like Hawk Harrelson, if only for the comedic value, but with the World Series title he has become even more condescending and annoying as ever.

2006-08-31 11:41:41
6.   Bob Timmermann
Rivera had an MRI on his elbow today.
2006-08-31 18:35:33
7.   Vishal
i only asked because you wrote "carlos santana" :)

maybe you were listening to a santana album at the time?

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