There are six playoff spots left and just 16 teams left competing for them. Two of the playoff spots could be wrapped up. Three more teams could be eliminated.
Oakland has the easiest path to clinching a playoff spot. The Athletics lead the Angels by eight games with nine left to play and they play host to the Halos at 1:05 pm PT (John Lackey vs. Joe Blanton).
Detroit can clinch its first trip to the playoffs since 1987 with some help. They Chicago to lose to Seattle earlier in the day and then beat Kansas City on the road at 4:10 pm PT (Kenny Rogers vs. Mark Redman). Detroit leads Minnesota by 1 1/2 games in the AL Central.
The Twins lead the White Sox by 5 1/2 games in the wild card. They will play at Baltimore at 1:35 pm PT (Scott Baker vs. Erik Bedard). Their magic number to make the playoffs is 4.
Over in the National League, there is New York, champions of the East and owners of the best record, and then there's the rest.
St. Louis leads Cincinnati and Houston by 5 1/2 games in the Central and appears to be just trying to stumble over the finish line and into the playoffs. Their magic number is five. They play at Houston at 4:05 pm PT (Jason Marquis vs. Roy Oswalt).
Then there is the Andy Ashby Division. San Diego leads Los Angeles by 1/2 game in the West and Los Angeles leads Philadelphia by 1/2 game for the wild card.
The Phillies will play first at 10:20 am PT (Brian Moehler vs. Jon Lieber). The Padres play at 7:05 pm PT at home against Pittsburgh (Zach Duke vs. Jake Peavy). The Dodgers host Arizona at 7:10 pm PT (Miguel Batista vs. Brad Penny). If the Dodgers win, Arizona is eliminated.
They will also play:
Seattle at Chicago - The defending World Series champions are plummeting toward elimination.
Washington at New York - Both teams are just behind their AL neighbors in their Metro Area battles.
Boston at Toronto - The Red Sox are eliminated if they lose and Minnesota wins, but Boston refuses to drop, sort of like Captain Jacobi of the "La Paloma".
Chicago at Cincinnati - If we're lucky this game will last just five innings again.
San Francisco at Milwaukee - The Giants pitchers have surrendered 78 runs in their seven games on this road trip. And they've won one of the games!
New York at Tampa Bay - Yankees magic numbers to clinch home field, 7 vs. Detroit and Oakland, 6 vs. Minnesota.
Atlanta at Colorado - The same day that the Colorado Buffaloes play the Georgia Bulldogs!
Cleveland at Texas - The Rangers are just 2 1/2 games back of Philadelphia.