The Twins are in the playoffs -- not that it's too much of a shock. Minnesota won last night and stuck around Target Field, along with their fans, to watch the White Sox lose in Oakland to clinch the American League Central title.
So who's next?
Here's a look at the rest of the races:
Leader: New York Yankees
Magic Number: 10
Magic 8 Ball: Signs point to yes -- sure, the Rays can win the next two games and depart New York with the same half-game deficit they arrived with, but let's just stick status quo here and say the Yankees win the division. However, if there is one thing in the Rays' favor, it's their remaining schedule -- three at home against Seattle, followed by three against the Orioles and four at Kansas City.
Leader: Texas Rangers
Magic Number: 6
Magic 8 Ball: It is decidedly so -- the Rangers have lost four of their last five games and aren't looking great, but even if they don't clinch the division in Oakland during the next four games there, Seattle's coming to town.
AL Wild Card
Leader: Tampa Bay Rays
Magic Number: 6
Magic 8 Ball: Outlook good -- only two teams are still alive in the race, the White Sox and the Red Sox. Chicago's elimination number is two and Boston's is six. The White Sox, well, they're done. And the Red Sox have six games remaining against the Yankees. They're done too.
Leader: Philadelphia Phillies
Magic Number: 6
Magic 8 Ball: As I see it, yes -- the Braves learned quickly what it's like to face Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt, it's a lesson to be repeated throughout the postseason. It doesn't hurt that the Phillies have a day off tomorrow and then play the Mets and Nationals before finishing the regular season with three in Atlanta.
Leader: Cincinnati Reds
Magic Number: 4
Magic 8 Ball: Without a doubt -- the Reds are 9-1 against the Brewers this year, and they have four more games against Milwaukee in the final week-and-a-half. As for the Cardinals? Their future is so bright, Tony La Russa is taking off his shades.
Leader: San Francisco Giants
Magic Number: 12
Magic 8 Ball: Ask again later -- We've got one, actual race as we head toward the last week of the season, so there's that. With the Giants, Padres and Rockies within 2 1/2 games of each other, this one's going to be interesting. The Giants finish their series in Wrigley tomorrow before going head-to-head with the Rockies for three in Denver, followed by a six-game homestead against the Diamondbacks and Padres. The Padres not only have those three games against at the end at AT&T Park, but host the Reds and Cubs after finishing in Los Angeles. The Rockies return home from Arizona on Friday for the games against the Giants, before three with the Dodgers and finishing with four in St. Louis.
NL Wild Card
Leader: Atlanta Braves
Magic Number: 11
Magic 8 Ball: Reply hazy, try again -- the Braves are in the driver's seat, but it seems like they're driving a Yugo, going 9-11 so far this month. One of the NL West teams certainly could end Bobby Cox's final season before its natural stopping point -- short of a World Series title, but safely in the postseason.
-- C. Trent Rosecrans
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