As the season enters its final week, the playoff races are still cooking. With the only battle in the AL that has real meaning isolated in the Central, the NL mixes it up quite a bit more. As a result, the 2008 NLC Champions won't be taking this week completely off.
The White Sox are three ahead of the Twins in the loss column with seven games left to play, so just about anything can happen. The Twins host a three game set with the Sox this week.
The Angels finished up the West back in early May, if I recall correctly. Their lead is more than the other five division leads combined.
The AL Wild Card is still undecided. The Yankees are as close to elimination as you can get, but the Rays and the Red Sox are still battling for the East title. The consolation price will be a Wild Card spot, whatever the outcome.
The Central has been put to bed by the Cubs. Only the Brewers remain in the playoff hunt amongst the also-rans.
Out West, the Dodgers and Diamondbacks continue to battle for King of Mediocrity. The Dodgers have a 1.5 game lead at the moment. Neither team should be taken too lightly, the Dodgers have some good hitters and a smidgen of pitching, while the Arizona club has two or three quality starters, if you include Randy Johnson.
In the East, the Phillies and the Mets both have the edge over their Wild Card rival Brewers, but there isn't a guaranteed consolation price in the Senior Circuit. The Phils cling to a 1.5 game lead entering Monday's games.
The Cubs in the Mix
As we all know, Saturday's win over the Cardinals ended the Central race. Still, the Cubs are in the thick of things.
The Cubs need just one win this week, or a loss by Philadelphia, to clinch home field advantage for the first two playoff rounds. While that's a foregone conclusion, the Cubs will be right in the middle of some unfinished business.
With four games against the Mets, and three against the Brewers, the Cubs owe it to both clubs to compete evenly in all seven games. No one will quibble some short starts or days off, but no one, including Lou Piniella, wants to see the 4-A team from Sunday.