September 3 marks the last Sunday that baseball gets to use the sports stage without having the NFL butt in, so enjoy the 16 games scheduled for today.
It's possible that two playoff spots could change hands today.
The wild card slots in both leagues are still in flux. The White Sox lead the Twins by 1/2 game for the AL wild card. The Padres lead the Phillies by one game, but the Phillies are playing a doubleheader (the "traditional" doubleheader as the Phillies are calling it.)
The first big game of the day gets underway at 10:05 am PT. The Twins take on the AL East leading Yankees in the Bronx (Matt Garza vs. Darrell Rasner). The Yankees lead the Red Sox by eight games and have a magic number of 20.
The Phillies start their doubleheader against the Braves at 10:35 am PT. (Tim Hudson vs. Jamie Moyer in the first game and Lance Cormier vs. Brett Myers in the second game.)
NL East leading New York, leading the Phillies by 16 1/2 games with a magic number of 12, play at Houston at 11:05 am PT (Orlando Hernandez vs. Roy Oswalt). Also at 11:05, the Marlins will play at Milwaukee (Scott Olsen vs. Tomo Ohka). The Marlins trail by two games in the wild card race and the Brewers have lost nine straight.
The Chicago White Sox, who lead the AL wild card race, play at Kansas City at 11:10 am PT (Freddy Garcia vs. Mark Redman). The White Sox trail Detroit by just 4 1/2 games in the Central.
NL Central leading St. Louis hosts Pittsburgh at 11:15 am PT (Ian Snell vs. Anthony Reyes). The Pirates won an unlikely 1-0 game at St. Louis Saturday night. St. Louis has a magic number of 23.
At 1:05 pm PT, AL West leading Oakland hosts Baltimore (Hayden Penn vs. Esteban Loaiza). At the same time, the Reds take on San Diego (Eric Milton vs. David Wells, making his first start in his second stint with the Padres). Oakland leads the Angels by 7 1/2 in the West. San Diego leads Philadelphia by one and Cincinnati by 1 1/2 games.
If the Padres lose and the Phillies sweep, Philadelphia would take over the wild card. However, the Phillies have shown a singular ability to blow games when they can get to the wild card spot, so don't hold your breath waiting for this.
NL West leading Los Angeles hosts Colorado at 1:10 pm PT (Byung-Hyun Kim vs. Aaron Sele). The Dodgers have won seven straight and have moved past St. Louis for the second best record in the NL. The magic number for the Dodgers is 24.
At 5:05 pm PT, the Tigers get a rare Sunday night appearance, hosting the Angels (Kelvim Escobar vs. Wilfredo Ledezma). The Tigers have a magic number of 23.
Tampa Bay's playoff chances are pretty much zero after the Devil Rays loss to Seattle. Tampa Bay is now at 54-82. In theory, they could win out and tie the Yankees for the AL East. Their wild card chances are pretty much gone. The White Sox have 79 wins and the Twins have 78 wins and at least one or both of them will finish with 80 wins since they have three games left with each other. If you are curious, the Mariners play at Tampa Bay at 10:15 am (Felix Hernandez vs. Brian Stokes).
They will also play:
Arizona at Washington - Nats try to sweep the series
Cleveland at Texas - Kevin Kouzmanoff tries to see if everything else in the majors is anticlimax
San Francisco at Chicago - Barry Bonds enjoys the Friendly Confines.
Toronto at Boston - Game time pushed back to 1:05 pm PT to avoid rain or to give Theo Epstein a chance to scrounge around for players