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The Lineup: Raul, the A's and playoff shuffling still not done after 161 games

By Matt Snyder | Baseball Writer
Ibanez came through in a huge way twice for the Yankees. (US Presswire)

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We only have one day of regular season baseball left, but there are still some things to be decided. Some major things like two divisions, a possible triple crown and the top record in both leagues.

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Raul Ibanez, Yankees: The Yankees entered the game with a one-game lead over the Orioles. The O's won 1-0 in Tampa Bay. The Yankees went into the bottom of the ninth inning trailing 3-1. Ibanez came through with a pinch-hit, two-run homer to tie the game. Then, in the bottom of the 12th, Ibanez came through again in the clutch, driving home the winning run on a single. With one game to go, the Yankees' worst-case scenario is now a tie with the Orioles.

The Oakland Athletics: The Rangers have been alone in first place since April 9 ... until now. It's all tied up with just one game to go. Unbelievable.

Adam LaRoche, Nationals: He hit a solo shot in the bottom of the sixth to put the Nationals on top for good, and they're now in position to take home the top seed in NL, which would secure home field throughout the postseason (remember, NL won the All-Star Game and gets home field in the World Series). Also, the home run was LaRoche's 33rd, a career high. His 100th RBI also tied a career high.


Rays support of James Shields: I have a rule against putting someone from the losing team in the "up" area, but Shields' effort has to be mentioned somewhere. He threw a complete-game two-hitter and struck out 15 with zero walks. A Chris Davis homer buried the Rays, though, as they lost 1-0.

Mark Ellis, Dodgers: In the bottom of the seventh, Ellis tried to stretch a double into a triple and was thrown out by a country mile. Then, in the bottom of the ninth with two out and the tying run on second base, Ellis flew out to center to end the game. And the Dodgers' playoff chances. Rough night for the second baseman.

Rangers' offense: Five hits and one run while falling back into a first-place tie isn't championship caliber.

On Deck

AL West at stake: So it all comes down to this. The Rangers could actually be a wild-card after spending less than a week of the season not alone in first place. It's one head-to-head game in Oakland for the AL West championship. It's hired gun Ryan Dempster (7-3, 4.64 with Rangers) against rookie A.J. Griffin (7-1, 2.71). Do not miss this one. 3:35 p.m. ET

AL East at stake: The Yankees hold a one-game lead over the Orioles and will clinch yet another AL East crown if they can handle Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-6, 7.68) and the Red Sox. Hiroki Kuroda (15-11, 3.34) gets the nod for the Yankees in what should be a gimme. 7:00 p.m. ET If the Yankees do mess up and lose, the Orioles could force a one-game playoff by beating the Rays. It's Chris Tillman (9-2, 2.78) for the O's against Jeremy Hellickson (9-11, 3.20). 7:00 p.m. ET

NL top seed up for grabs: If the Nationals beat the Phillies, they'll clinch the No. 1 seed in the NL. It's Edwin Jackson (9-11, 4.13) for the Nats against Cliff Lee (6-8, 3.12) at 1:05 p.m. ET If, however, the Nationals lose, the Reds will be going for the top seed against the Cardinals. It's Homer Bailey (13-10, 3.75) against Adam Wainwright (14-13, 3.94) assuming neither teams' plans change, which are entirely possible depending upon what happens with Washington. 8:15 p.m. ET

Probable pitchers for Game 162

What's Hot

Nats success sad for Expos fans: Dave Kaufman writes for the Montreal Gazette about the Nationals ascent in Washington from the point of view of Expos fans.

Autographs of the future: Egraphs is a website where players can sign an autograph on a custom iPad app and record and audio message to go with it. Fans can then buy the Egraph. CBSNews.com has the story.

Joan Jett loves the Orioles: Female rockstar Joan Jett ("I love Rock n' Roll") sent a letter to the Orioles this week about how much she has loved the team since attending games with her Father as a child. Baltimoresun.com has the story.

All-platoon team: The Hardball Times goes through splits and makes an all-platoon team, one lineup to only face right-handers and one lineup to only face left-handers.

Young Chipper: Ah, if only he knew all the success he was going to have in his illustrious career.

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