Just one week to go in the regular season and there are only three teams with postseason berths wrapped up, but the number of contenders is dropping too. There are just 12 teams still with chances and most of them are extreme longshots.
Two teams can clinch spots Monday: Oakland and Minnesota.
The Twins can clinch the wild card if they can beat Kansas City on the road at 5:10 pm PT (Boof Bonser vs. Jorge De La Rosa) and the White Sox lose at Cleveland at 4:05 pm PT (Jon Garland vs. Cliff Lee). The Twins trail the Tigers by 1 1/2 games in the AL Central. The Tigers have a magic number of 5 to clinch the division title since they hold the tiebreaker advantage by winning the season series 11-8.
Oakland had two chances to clinch the AL West, but lost Saturday and Sunday to the Angels. So now Oakland can clinch the division if they can beat the Mariners in Seattle at 7:05 pm PT (Esteban Loaiza vs. Cesar Jimenez). And the Angels would have to lose at home to Texas at 7:05 pm PT (Edinson Volquez vs. Joe Saunders).
The National League, aside from the Mets, remains an untidy mess. The team with the lowest magic number to clinch a playoff spot is still the Cardinals who have a magic number of 5. But the Cardinals were swept in a four-game series in Houston and saw their lead in the division shrink to 3 1/2 games.
San Diego leads the Dodgers by 1 1/2 games in the West. And the Phillies lead the Dodgers by 1/2 game for the wild card.
The Central and West division leaders get together in St. Louis at 5:10 pm PT (David Wells vs. Jeff Suppan). The Padres have taken a 2 1/2 game lead on the Cardinals for the #2 slot.
Philadelphia plays its final home game of the regular season at 4:05 pm PT against Houston (Matt Albers vs. Randy Wolf). The Dodgers have the day off.
They will also play:
Cubs at Cincinnati - Kids in Cincinnati will no doubt be sneaking transistor radios into school to follow this afternoon affair.
Boston at Toronto - The Blue Jays can take over second place with a win. That and CDN$2.75 gets you a ride on the TTC.
Washington at Mets - Nats pitcher Beltran Perez may face a Beltran, but probably not a Perez as Tom Glavine is starting.
Yankees at Tampa Bay - Yankees need a win to reclaim homefield advantage for the playoffs.
Arizona at San Francisco - Giants pitchers return from a road trip where they put up an ERA of 11.22 in nine games.