"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

The Final Week

With six days left in the regular season, five of the eight playoff spots are still in play and nine teams are still in the hunt.

In the NL East, the Phillies have won ten of their last 11 to build a 2.5 game lead over the Mets. They have just five games left, two against the Braves, and three against the Nationals. The Mets have six games left, the first three against the NL best Cubs. That race looks over.

Fortunately for the Mets, they still hold a one-game lead over the Brewers in the NL Wild Card race. The Brewers also have three games left against the Cubs and have gone just 5-15 on the month. Milwaukee’s other three games are against the Pirates, the Mets’ against the Marlins. Since the top two teams here are choking their seasons away, it’s worth mentioning that the third horse in that race is Houston, which is 3.5 games back this morning and has seven games left against the Reds, Braves, and a season-ending makeup game against the Cubs. All four teams mentioned above play all of their remaining games at home. The other two teams still alive in the NL Wild Card race are the Marlins and Cardinals, both of whom could be eliminated to day with a loss and a Mets win.

The Cardinals host the Diamondbacks for the next three days, then send them home to face the Rockies. The D’backs trail the Dodgers by two games in the West. Joe Torre’s team finishes up against the Padres and Giants.

The AL finds four teams still in play for the remaining two spots, though one of them is the Yankees, who can do no better than tie the Red Sox for the Wild Card. The Sox will clinch the Wild Card with a win or a Yankee loss. Boston also has a chance to pass the Rays for first place in the East (they trail by 2.5 games), though that’s less significant since the Rays have already clinched a playoff spot.

That just leaves the race in the Central, which is where the real action is over the next three days as White Sox, who hold a 2.5 game lead in the division, travel to Minnesota to try to put away the second-place Twins head-to-head. If they fail, the Twins will finish at home against the Royals, while the White Sox host the Indians (actually, that will happen anyway, it just won’t mean as much if the White Sox clinch in Minneapolis).

Here’s the schedule for the White Sox’s series in Minnesota:

Tue 9/23 8:10 (Vazquez v Baker)
Wed 9/24 8:10 (Buehrle v Blackburn)
Thu 9/25 8:10 (Floyd v Slowey)

Sadly, none of these games will be nationally televised.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver