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Every Division Has a Story, September 23
2007-09-23 19:59
by Bob Timmermann

Two teams clinch postseason spots and in their honor, the divisions will be renamed for the player I deem to be the best one to have played his entire career with that franchise. So without further ado.

AL Central (Bob Feller Division):

Cleveland won the AL Central for the first time since 2001 with a 6-2 win over Oakland at Jacobs Field. For the time being, Cleveland also owns the best record in the AL, but it is by just 1/2 game over the Angels and Red Sox. The Indians would get a tiebreaker edge over the Angels, but lose to the Red Sox. Cleveland's potential first round opponent, New York, won all six games against the Indians this year.

Detroit still has a faint hope for the wild card after beating Kansas City 7-4. Justin Verlander won his 18th.

Minnesota beat Chicago 7-1 and Kevin Slowey struck out nine. It was likely Torii Hunter's last game in Minneapolis as a Twin.

AL West (Tim Salmon Division):

The Los Angeles Angels clinched their third AL West title since the three-division format started in 1994 with a 7-4 win over the Mariners. John Lackey won his 18th game and Casey Kotchman and Maicer Izturis homered. Seattle can be eliminated with a Yankee win Monday afternoon.

Texas shut out Baltimore 3-0.

AL East (Pee-Wee Wanninger Division):

Although the Red Sox have clinched a playoff spot, their divisional title hopes are still up in the air. The Red Sox had their lead cut to 1 1/2 games after losing to Tampa Bay, 5-4.

The Yankees held on to beat Toronto 7-5 with Joba Chamberlain getting the save and Jose Molina driving in three runs.

Boston's magic number to win the division is 6. New York's magic number to win the division is 8 as they would just need to tie the Red Sox to be named division champs. The extra game in the standings will be taken care of tomorrow when the Yankees host Toronto while the Red Sox are off.

Boston finishes up at home with two against Oakland and four against Minnesota. The Yankees will be on the road to play three in Baltimore and three in Tampa Bay.

AL Wild Card (Dave Collins Division):

The Yankees have a magic number of 2 to clinch a playoff spot. They lead Detroit by 5 1/2 games. They lead Seattle by 7. The Yankees will clinch a playoff spot with a win over Toronto and a Detroit loss to Minnesota.

Tomorrow's pitching matchups that affect something about the postseason:

A.J. Burnett (Toronto) vs Andy Pettitte (New York), Carlos Silva (Minnesota) vs Nate Robertson (Detroit), Ervin Santana (Los Angeles) vs Armando Galarraga (Texas)

NL Central (Ted Savage Division):

Remember when this division was a 3-team race? Remember when it seemed like first place changed hands a lot? That's likely not going to happen now.

The Cubs lead Milwaukee by 3 1/2 games and have a magic number of 4. Chicago handed the Pirates their ninth straight defeat and it wasn't close. Chicago won 8-0.

The Brewers led Atlanta 4-1, but the bullpen could not hold on to the lead again and lost 7-4.

The Reds squandered a 4-0 lead against the Giants in San Francisco and lost 5-4.

The Cardinals gave the home fans one last thrill, rallying to score three runs in the ninth off of Brad Lidge to beat the Astros 4-3. Albert Pujols came off the bench to drive in run #99 and Rick Ankiel hit a 2-run triple to end it.

NL East (Rico Brogna Division):

The Mets beat the Marlins 7-6 in 11 innings. Billy Wagner blew a save in the ninth. David Wright won it in the 11th with an RBI single off of Harvey Garcia. 16 pitchers saw action in the game.

The Phillies fell to 2 1/2 games back after losing the final game played at RFK to the Nats, 5-3. Ryan Howard tied Adam Dunn's major league record for strikeouts at 195. The Nats finished their tenure at RFK with a record of 122-121. Chase Utley hit the last homer at RFK and that was on Saturday. The last National to homer at RFK was D'Angelo Jimenez back on September 18 off of Scott Schoeneweis of the Mets. The last batter was Jayson Werth who struck out against Chad Cordero.

NL West (Steve Finley Division):

First place Arizona used an octet of pitchers against the Dodgers. And it didn't help as the Dodgers won 7-1. Their magic number to win the division is 5 and to clinch a playoff spot is 4.

Arizona leads by 2 1/2 games over San Diego, which was swept by Colorado 7-3. Garret Atkins got an inside-the-park home run when Mike Cameron missed a diving catch and then had Milton Bradley step on his hand. Later, Bradley was ejected by first base umpire Mike Winters for reasons that are subject to dispute. When manager Bud Black tried to keep Bradley from getting into more trouble, he wrestled Bradley to the ground, hurting Bradley's knee. Black was ejected two batters later AFTER Kevin Kouzmanoff had doubled in a run.

NL Wild Card (Andy Ashby Division):

The Padres lead Philadelphia by 1/2 game and that odd game will be made up tomorrow when the Padres play in San Francisco while the Phillies are off. The Rockies, who have won eight straight and a franchise-record 84 in total, are now just 1 1/2 games back.

The Padres finish up with games at San Francisco and Milwaukee. The Phillies play at home against Atlanta and Washington. Colorado plays three in Los Angeles and three at home against Arizona.

Tomorrow's pitching matchups for games that might influence the postseason:

Matt Chico (Washington) vs Mike Pelfrey (New York), Adam Wainwright (St. Louis) vs Dave Bush (Milwaukee), Tall Chris Young (San Diego) vs Barry Zito (San Francisco).


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