Pennant Race Fever: September 23
AL East: The Yankees clinched a spot in the 2009 AL playoffs with their 6-5 win over the Angels in Anaheim. They extended their lead to six games over the second place Red Sox who lost 5-1 to the Royals and Zack Greinke.
The Red Sox have two games remaining against the Royals before traveling to New York to play the Yankees in a three game series starting Friday. The Yankees and Red Sox have ten games remaining in the 2009 season.
AL Central: The Tigers magic number to eliminate the Twins was reduced to 10 with their 3-1 win over the Indians. The Twins won 8-6 over the White Sox as they stayed two and-a-half games behind the AL Central leading Tigers.
The White Sox who are 3-7 in their last ten games slipped even further behind the Twins who are 8-2 in their last ten games. They are now five and-a-half games behind the Twins and eight games behind the Tigers with only ten games remaining.
The AL Central has the closest race of any division and the way the Twins are playing now they could be the AL Central champion by the end of the season.
AL West: It will take a miracle for the Angels to lose the AL West title since they lead the Rangers by seven and-a-half games with 11 games remaining and a magic number of five.
NL East: The Marlins shutout the Phillies 3-0 in the second game of a doubleheader while limiting them to two hits and are now eight games behind with ten games remaining and a magic number of four.
The Braves also won defeating the Mets 3-1. They trail the Phillies by seven and-a-half games with 11 games remaining and a magic number of five.
NL Central: The Cardinals trounced the Astros 11-2 and remained ten games ahead of the Cubs with their magic number being reduced to two. The Cubs do have two more games remaining than the Cardinals but they could still be eliminated today.
NL West: Both the Dodgers and Rockies won their third game in a row and the magic number still is seven for the Rockies to be eliminated. The Rockies remain five games behind the Dodgers. The Giants have a magic number of two and could be eliminated today.
Wild Card Races
AL: The Red Sox are seven games ahead of the Rangers in the AL wild card race with a magic number of six. The Mariners who are ten and-a-half games behind the Red Sox could be eliminated today since their magic number is two.
NL: Five teams still remain in the NL wild card race with the Rockies holding a five game lead over the Giants and Braves. The Marlins are five and-a-half games behind while the Cubs are seven and-a-half games behind.
It would be almost impossible for the Cubs to pass the four teams ahead of them but their magic number is five so it is possible.
The Rockies have ten games remaining but three of those games are against the Cardinals and they finish the season in Los Angeles for a three game set against the Dodgers. However the Cardinals may have clinched the NL Central by Friday when they play the Cubs and may be resting players for the playoffs.
The schedule favors the Braves who play eight of their remaining 11 games against the Mets and Nationals with a three game series starting Monday against the Marlins which could be crucial to both teams.
The next loss by the Nationals will give them 100 losses for the second straight season. Their last previous time to lose 100 games was 1967 when they were the Expos and lost 107 games….The Yankees need four wins in their remaining ten games to post 100 wins for the first time since 2004 when they won 101 games.
If the Pirates are 6-7 the rest of the season they will lose 100 games for the first time since 2001. If they do lose 100 games it would only be the third time since 1954 for them to have a 100 loss season and their sixth time since 1917.
Their current .376 winning percentage if it stays the same would be their lowest mark since 1985.
This season should be the first time the Cubs have finished first or second for three seasons in a row since the 1935-1938 Cubs finished first or second four times in a row.
The 2009 Phillies are trying to be the first Phillies team to win first place three years in a row since the 1976-1978 Phillies accomplished the feat.
The Athletics have been 17-8 since August 26 and have lost more than one game in a row only once since that date….Derrek Lee hit five homers and drove in 19 runs in April and May. He has hit 15 homers and has driven in 43 runs in August and September with eight days remaining in September.
Adam Dunn hit his 38th homer yesterday and needs two more to have had 40 homers exactly for five consecutive seasons. He has 316 lifetime homers at the age of 29 and should have a shot at 500 or 600 homers.
Prince Fielder hit his 41st homer last night and has 155 homers at the age of 25. His .547 lifetime slugging percentage is better than that of Hack Wilson, Frank Robinson, Mel Ott and Duke Snider.
Matt Cain lost his third start in a row and has won only one game since July 24. He has been 1-5 with five no decisions since that date….Derek Jeter hit safely for the 200th time this season. Jeter now has posted seven 200 hit seasons.
The next home run by Adrian Gonzalez will be his 40th of the season and he needs six runs batted in to have three consecutive 30 homers and 100 RBI’s season….Aaron Hill became the 16th major leaguer to drive in 100 runs with his 33rd homer yesterday.
Mark Reynolds struck out three times to break his own record for most strikeouts in a season with 206 topping his old mark of 204. His record should be safe for this season since Ryan Howard is 30 behind him with 176 strikeouts and Jack Cust is 35 behind with 171 strikeouts.