Pennant Race Fever: September 30
The Tigers had a two game lead over the Twins before their doubleheader yesterday and by the end of the second game they still had the same lead. However their magic number to clinch the AL Central was reduced to four with their win in the nightcap.
The Twins won the first game 2-1 in 10 innings but lost the second game after coming back from a 5-0 deficit to make the score 5-4 but eventually lost 6-5.
The Braves were trailing the Marlins 4-1 after five innings but tied it up in the sixth inning on a three run homer by Matt Diaz. The Marlins took a 5-4 lead in the seventh inning and won the game by that score. The Phillies won their game to keep the Braves from gaining ground on them.
All the Dodgers needed yesterday was a win or a Rockies loss to clinch the NL West. Instead they lost their third game in a row while the Rockies defeated the Brewers 7-5 in 11 innings.
AL East: The Yankees are the AL East champions.
AL Central: The Tigers split with the Twins yesterday kept their lead over them at two games. They did reduce their magic number to four with their win in the nightcap.
Eddie Bonine (0-1) starts tonight for the Tigers and will be facing Carl Pavano (13-11) who will be on the mound for the Twins. Bonine has given up seven home runs in 29 innings which will be something to watch for today.
Pavano was 6-7 at the end of June but has posted a 7-4 record since then. He is 4-0 with a no decision against the Tigers this season and has held them to a .220 average. He has not pitched for that low of an average against any other team.
AL West: The Angels have clinched the AL West title.
NL East: The Phillies extended their lead over the second place Braves to five games and their magic number is now one. The loss yesterday by the Braves was crucial and a loss today will end their chances of winning the NL East title.
Cliff Lee (14-12) will try to win the NL East title with a win for the Phillies tonight against Brian Moehler (8-11) of the Astros. Lee has not pitched well recently so it will be interesting to see how he pitches tonight. The schedule at mlb.com at this minute lists Lee as the starter for both Wednesday and Thursday so Lee may not be starting today.
Javier Vazquez (15-9) will get the start in the most important game of the season for the Braves and will be going against Ricky Nolasco (12-9) who will take the mound for the Marlins. Vazquez has won his last five decisions and hasn’t lost since August 21.
NL Central: The Cardinals have clinched the NL Central title.
NL West: The Dodgers need to win or for the Rockies to lose today to be the NL West champion. They are holding on to a slim three and-a-half game lead over the Rockies with a magic number of one.
Jon Garland (12-11) will try to win the NL West clinching game for the Dodgers while his mound opponent will be Clayton Richard (8-5) for the Padres.
Meanwhile in Milwaukee Jason Hammel (9-8) will be facing Jeff Suppan (7-11) of the Brewers as the Rockies hope the Dodgers lose while they win their game.
Summary: The Phillies and Dodgers both have magic numbers of one and by the end of the day could be the champions of the NL East and NL West respectively.
The AL Central can’t be settled until Thurday at the earliest and that is only if the Tigers can defeat the Twins in the next two games. The Twins need to win the next two games to tie the Tigers for the AL Central lead.
If the Tigers win the next two games they will be four games ahead of the Twins with only three games remaining.. A split would reduce the Tigers magic number to two.
Wild Card Races
AL: The Red Sox will be the AL Wild Card team.
NL: The Rockies extended their NL Wild Card lead over the Braves to three games and remained five games ahead of the Giants who won yesterday. Their magic number to eliminate the Braves is three while their magic number to eliminate the Giants is one.
Mark Teixeira hit his 39th homer of the season tying him with Carlos Pena for the AL lead. Teixeira also leads the AL in runs batted in with 121.
Hanley Ramirez needs four hits to have 200 hits for the first time in his career and Ryan Braun is six hits short short of the century mark….Homer Bailey (7-5) is finally fulfilling some of the promise expected of him.
He has given up three or less runs in his last eight starts. He gave up no runs in a seven inning start and a eight inning start. In three of those starts he has given up one run with a two run start and two three run starts. Bailey has given up only 11 runs over those eight starts.