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News » White Sox have an arm up on Twins this week 2008-09-24

White Sox have an arm up on Twins this week 2008-09-24

White Sox have an arm up on Twins this week 2008-09-24
We're ankle-deep in the final week of the regular season and we've still got five playoff berths up for grabs.

Thursday's action

  • D-backs loss gives NL West title to L.A.
  • Rays lose, fail to clinch AL East
  • Red Sox still alive in AL East after win
  • Jays drop Yanks; Halladay wins 20th
  • Beltran's walk-off hit leads Mets to win
  • Braun keeps Brewers tied in wild card
  • Astros barely alive with win over Cincy
  • Twins beat ChiSox to take Central lead
  • De La Rosa dominant in Rockies win
  • Angels win as Vlad homers twice
  • Dodgers lose but still clinch NL West

More on MLB:

  • Hill: October matchups we want to see
  • Ringolsby: Good, bad, and ugly of '08
  • Sherman: Mets love their drama
  • Perry: MLB award winners

Photo gallery:

  • PHOTOS: Pennant fever strikes!

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Family Friendly Ballpark Guide:

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Milestone tracker:

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AL Central

Odds of winning division: White Sox 71.2%, Twins 28.8%

The Sox are nursing a 2.5-game lead in the Central, and that's a hefty edge at this late hour. On Tuesday, though, a critical three-game set between Chicago and Minnesota begins in the Metrodome. Anything shy of a Twins sweep will likely mean a division title for the Sox. Chicago is 8-7 against the Twins this season, so there's no clear edge there.

The Sox will trot out starting pitchers Javier Vazquez, Mark Buehrle and Gavin Floyd, while the Twins will counter with Scott Baker, Nick Blackburn and Kevin Slowey. Barring some last-second juggling, the Sox will miss out on Francisco Liriano. The White Sox, of course, will be without their best hitter, Carlos Quentin, and they're a middling 9-9 since he went down. Again, though, the Twins need a sweep, and Chicago's edge in the pitching match-ups makes that unlikely. Expect Chicago to hang on.

AL wild card

Odds of winning: Red Sox 93.2%, Rays 6.8%, Yankees 0.1%

The Red Sox enter Tuesday having clinched a tie for the AL wild card, and the Rays have clinched a playoff berth. So the only way the Sox won't win the wild card is if they hawk down the Rays in the East — not likely. Once again, the AL East will put two teams in the postseason.

As for the Yanks' slimmest of chances, they'd have to win out, Boston would have to lose out and New York would have to beat the Sox in a one-game playoff in Fenway. Clearly, that's not going to happen.

AL home-field advantage

The Angels' lead of 3.5 games is a healthy one, and there's just not enough time for Tampa to catch up (especially not with six games against the lowly Mariners and Rangers still on the schedule for Anaheim). The Angels don't show extreme home-road splits in terms of winning percentage, but keeping the home field away from the Rays, who do show extreme splits, is quite important. Since the AL won the All-Star Game, that of course means the Halos will enjoy home-field advantage throughout the postseason.

NL East

Odds of winning division: Phillies 95.1%, Mets 4.9%

Philly's lead is 2.5 games, and that's a sizeable margin this time of year, especially since they won't play the Mets again in the regular season. The Phillies wrap up their series with the Braves, and then they get the Nationals at home. That's quite obviously an accommodating finish to the season. The Mets, meanwhile, have three more against the Cubs and then a set against the Marlins at home. Much tougher. Since the Phillies have the lead and a drastically easier final week, they'll win a second straight division title.

NL West

Odds of winning division: Dodgers 89.6%, Diamondbacks 10.4%

The D-backs have fared better in recent days, but they're still working from two games behind. As you can see, the Dodgers have an almost 9-in-10 chance of winning their second division title since 2004. The Dodgers close out against the Padres and Giants, and Arizona has three more in St. Louis before wrapping up with Colorado at home. L.A. has the lead and the easier remaining schedule. Call it for the Dodgers.

NL wild card

Odds of winning: Mets 60.7%, Brewers 32.8%, Phillies 4.7%, Astros 1.5%, Marlins 0.3%

This one comes down to the Brewers and, since Philadelphia will prevail in the East, the Mets. Milwaukee ends the season at home against the Pirates and Cubs. Since they'll face Chicago during the last series of the season and Chicago will have home-field advantage secured by that point, the Cubs may well be in "play it safe" mode in order to get ready for the postseason. So consider their schedule to be easier than the Mets' going forward.

On the other hand, the Brewers will get just two total starts over their final six games from CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets. And that's if the hobbled Sheets is able to pitch this week. Obviously, that means the suspect back of the rotation will be exposed. Still, the Mets lead Milwaukee by a single game, so this one has the potential for a photo finish. If it ends in a tie, then the Mets will host the one-game playoff.

(All playoff odds courtesy of

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: September 24, 2008

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