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 The Races: Busy final day of August

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PostSubject: The Races: Busy final day of August   Tue Sep 01, 2009 9:27 am

The Races: Busy final day of August
Dodgers add Thome, Garland; Twins continue late push

By Doug Miller / MLB.com

09/01/09 1:58 AM ET

The Major League Baseball pennant races got hotter and hotter on the final day of August, with last-minute wheeling and dealing out West, division drama straight out of (American League) Central casting and a Wild (Card) battle on the steamy Florida coast.

Postseason matchups
if season ended today


@ @
AL Division Series
@
TIE
@
NL Division Series
Postseason information
Standings | Wild Card
Postseason Schedule
Tickets | At Bat 2009


Almost every division in Major League Baseball seems to be well in hand for the leading teams as we hit the final full month of the regular season, particularly in the National League West, where the Dodgers' late-night acquisitions of Jim Thome and Jon Garland has their October prospects looking even stronger.

But then there's that almost, because in the American League Central, Monday marked yet another momentum swing.

In Minnesota on Monday, the Twins showed they'd like to extend the baseball life of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome another month by keeping it open for October use. In their 4-1 win over the suddenly cold Chicago White Sox, the Twins pushed their overall record back over the .500 mark at 66-65 and gained another game on division-leading Detroit, which lost to Tampa Bay.

That means the Twins, notorious for their late-season division pushes, are only three back of the Tigers with a month to play. And they're happy about it, to say the least.

"It's a completely different feel around our clubhouse, and I think everybody's pretty excited about the way it's going," said Twins slugger Jason Kubel, who homered in the game. "That's what we're focusing on right now, how we go about our own business."

Meanwhile, in Detroit, the Tigers haven't yet gotten what they expected from Trade Deadline acquisition Jarrod Washburn, and it's showing up in their dwindling division advantage.

On Monday, Washburn lost again, and since he's been with the Tigers, he has allowed 28 runs on 41 hits over 37 innings, including 25 runs over five home starts. His only win as a Tiger came on the road last week against the Angels.

"Anytime you get traded to a team that's in first place and has a chance to go to the playoffs, you want to do what you can to help them get there," Washburn said. "And I haven't been helping."

In Miami on Monday, however, the Atlanta Braves were busy helping their postseason chances.

In a battle of Wild Card chasers, Kenshin Kawakami outlasted Marlins ace Josh Johnson, who had a no-hitter through five innings, in a 5-2 Braves comeback win that put them within three games of the Rockies and San Francisco Giants for the National League's final October berth.

"It's a huge win, probably the biggest win of the year, especially sitting back and seeing how the first six innings went," third baseman Chipper Jones said. "To come back, come off the mat and put up enough runs to win and then some off of [Johnson] is a tremendous boost for us."

For the rest of the picture, let's go to The Races:

If the postseason started today ...
American League
Yankees (1) vs. Tigers (3)
Angels (2) vs. Red Sox (4)

National League

Dodgers (1) vs. Cardinals (3)
Phillies (2) vs. Rockies (4)

Leaders and contenders

American League
AL East
Yankees, W 5-1 @ BAL
Lead: 6.5 over BOS, 11.5 over TB | Next: @ BAL

AL Central

Tigers, L 11-7 vs. TB
Lead: 3.5 over MIN, 6.5 over CWS | Next: vs. TB

AL West

Angels, W 10-0 @ SEA
Lead: 6 over TEX | Next: @ SEA

AL Wild Card

Red Sox, W 7-0 vs. TOR (Sunday)
Lead: 4 over TEX, 5 over TB | Next: @ TB

Top AL contenders

Rangers, L 18-10 vs. TOR
Deficit: 4 behind BOS in WC, 6 behind LAA in West | Next: vs. TOR

Rays, W 11-7 @ DET

Deficit: 5 behind BOS in WC, 11.5 behind NYY in East | Next: @ DET

Twins, W 4-1 vs. CWS

Deficit: 3.5 behind DET in Central | Next: vs. CWS

White Sox, L 4-1 @ MIN

Deficit: 6 behind DET in Central | Next: @ MIN

National League

NL East
Phillies, W 3-2 vs. ATL (Sunday)
Lead: 7.5 over ATL, 8.5 over FLA | Next: vs. SF

NL Central

Cardinals, W 2-1 vs. WAS (Sunday)
Lead: 10.5 over CHC | Next: vs. MIL

NL West
Dodgers, L 5-3 vs. ARI
Lead: 5.5 over SF, 5.5 over COL | Next: vs. ARI

NL Wild Card

Giants, W 9-5 vs. COL (Sunday)
Deficit: 5.5 behind LAD in West | Next: @ PHI

Rockies, L 9-5 @SF (Sunday)

Lead: 5.5 behind LAD in West | Next: vs. NYM

Top NL contenders
Braves, W 5-2 @ FLA
Deficit: 3 behind COL and SF in WC, 7.5 behind PHI in East | Next: @ FLA

Marlins, L 5-2 vs. ATL
Deficit: 4 behind COL and SF in WC, 8.5 behind PHI in East | Next: vs. ATL

Cubs, L 5-3 vs. HOU
Deficit: 6 behind COL in WC, 10.5 behind STL in Central | Next: vs. HOU


Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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PostSubject: Re: The Races: Busy final day of August   Wed Sep 02, 2009 3:27 pm

Not sure I like playing the Yankees. You know they're due for a good postseason performance. The only way around that is to have Texas win the wildcard (then we'd get Anaheim).


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