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Thursday's tidbits: small, yet flavorful (September 7)
2006-09-07 04:00
by Bob Timmermann

Just seven games scheduled today and two divisional leaders have the day off. But on the other hand, two divisional leaders play each other in the NL and a divisional leader and the wild card leader meet each other in the AL.

In the NL East, the Mets lead the Phillies and Marlins by 16 1/2 games and have a magic number of 8. The Mets start a four-game series at home against the West leaders, Los Angeles, at 4:10 pm PT (Brad Penny vs. Tom Glavine). The Dodgers lead the Padres by one game and have a magic number of 23. The Padres are idle before starting a three-game series in San Francisco over the weekend.

The Phillies open a four-game series against the Marlins in Florida at 4:05 pm PT (Jon Lieber vs. Josh Johnson). Both the Phillies and Marlins trail the Padres by three games for the wild card. Neither team plays San Diego the rest of the way.

St. Louis leads the Central by six games over foundering Cincinnati and has a magic number of 18. St. Louis will play at Arizona at 6:40 pm PT. The DBacks will likely get a hit this night as the Cardinals will send Jeff Weaver to the mound to face Miguel Batista. The Reds are off.

In the AL, East leader New York (9 game lead over Boston and magic number of 15) is off as is West leader Oakland (5 1/2 game lead over the Angels and magic number of 18). The Yankees will be in Baltimore over the weekend and Oakland will be at Tampa Bay.

Detroit's lead in the Central is now just four games although the Tigers manage to knock one off their magic number and drop it to 20. The Tigers open up a four-game series in Minnesota at 5:10 pm PT (Justin Verlander vs. Scott Baker).

The White Sox are just 1/2 game behind the Twins for the wild card and they host Cleveland for four games starting at 5:05 pm PT (Cliff Lee vs. Mark Buehrle). Cleveland plays seven games against the White Sox, four against Minnesota, and three against Oakland down the stretch, so they should have a say in who makes the playoffs.

The standings overall in the AL are tightening up. The Tigers lead the Yankees by just one game for the best record overall. Oakland is just 3 1/2 games back of the Yankees.

They will also play:
Pittsburgh at Chicago - From the 9/15-9/24, the Bucs will play the Mets, Dodgers, and Padres. The Cubs have three games each left with the Dodgers and Phillies
Washington at Colorado - The Nationals try to take over the lead in the DC/Baltimore Metro Area battle. Frank Robinson will complain about the humidor during the weekend.

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