The eight playoff teams could all be decided tomorrow. Or maybe just six of them. Or maybe just seven of them. Or maybe five of them. There are just two days left in the regular season. Or there may be three. Or there still could be four.
Here's the situation now:
The NL West is a tie between San Diego and Los Angeles at 86-74. Both teams lead Philadelphia (84-76) for the wild card. The best the Phillies can hope for now is a tie with either the Dodgers or Padres for the wild card which the Phillies would host on either Oct. 2 (if it's a two-way tie) or Oct. 3 (if it's a three-way tie).
The Phillies play at Florida at 10:25 am PT (Randy Wolf vs. Scott Olsen). The Phillies must win to stay alive. If they lose, BOTH the Dodgers and Padres advance.
San Diego and Los Angeles both get started at 1:10 pm PT. The Padres will be at Arizona (David Wells vs. Juan Cruz) This could be one of the greatest disparities in weights between starting pitchers ever. Wells is officially listed at 250 and Cruz is at 155. I'm thinking that Wells is a little above 250. The Dodgers play at San Francisco at 1:10 pm PT (Greg Maddux vs. Matt Cain). Greg Maddux had just finished his first year of pro ball at Pikeville in the Appalachian League a few weeks before Cain was born.
The Dodgers and Padres can both clinch playoff spots with a win. If the Padres win, the Dodgers lose, and the Phillies lose. The Padres would win the West, the Dodgers would be the wild card, and the Phillies would be out of it. If the Padres and Dodgers finish tied for first in the West and ahead of the Phillies, the Padres would be the divisional champ and get the #2 seed.
In the Central, the collapse of the St. Louis Cardinals and the rise of the Houston Astros was stopped by the fact that the Cardinals won and the Astros lost. Was that in the script?
The Cardinals lead the Astros by 1 1/2 games and the Reds by 2 1/2 games. The Cardinals can clinch no worse than a tie for the division if they can beat Milwaukee at 10:25 am PT in St. Louis. Ben Sheets will face Jeff Suppan.
The Astros play at Atlanta later in the day at 4:05 pm PT. Chris Sampson is the scheduled starter for Houston against Lance Cormier of Atlanta. Sampson started on Monday in Philadelphia and relieved in Pittsburgh on Wednesday. The Astros would be eliminated if they lose and the Cardinals win.
Cincinnati is still alive, but could be eliminated by the time they start playing at Pittsburgh at 4:05 pm PT (Bronson Arroyo vs. Marty McLeary). The Reds will be done if they lose or if the Cardinals or Astros win. The Reds can only move on to the postseason if they get into a three-way tiebreaker with the Cardinals and Astros at 81-81. If such an event happened, it would require the Cardinals to first lose a makeup game at home against San Francisco on Monday, that would be followed by a game between the Cardinals and Astros in Houston on Tuesday and then the Reds would play the winner of that game in either St. Louis or Houston on Wednesday.
All that is left in the AL is to decide the AL Central champ. The Tigers and Twins are tied at 95-65. The Twins need to finish one game ahead to win the division as the Tigers won the season series. The Twins play bright and early at 9:10 am PT at home against the White Sox (Jon Garland vs. Matt Garza). The Tigers host the Royals at 4:05 pm PT (Ambiorix Burgos vs. Zach Miner). The Yankees are guaranteed the #1 spot and Oakland is the #3 team.
They will also play:
Colorado at Cubs - The Cubs are tied for worst record in the NL and the Rockies are just one game out of fourth place in the NL West.
Texas at Seattle - King Felix makes his last start of the year against Lord Kevin of Millwood.
Toronto at Yankees - The Yankees will clinch the NY Metro Area title with a win.
Baltimore at Boston - The Orioles will lose the DC/Baltimore Area battle with a loss or Washington win.
Mets at Washington - Another chance to see Carlos Beltran face Beltran Perez!
Tampa Bay at Cleveland - The Devil Rays try to avoid loss #100.
Oakland at Los Angeles of Anaheim - The Angels clinch the LA/OC Metro Area title with a win or a Dodgers loss.