In six weeks, all will be decided in Major League baseball. That may seem like a lot of time, until one realizes that, if six weeks are left, that means that 20 weeks have already passed since those damp and chilly days at the beginning of April (as well as on March 31) when the season got underway.
Here is a division-by-division look at where we stand entering the weekend, as well as who plays whom among the contenders in the American and National Leagues:
As everyone who follows baseball must be aware, the Indians are in Detroit this weekend for three games against the Tigers. Also, the White Sox, who may be reeling from losing their last two games to the Tribe, have the unenviable task of hosting the Texas Rangers this weekend.
The Yankees will continue a series in Minnesota vs. the Twins this weekend, attempting to retain their razor-thin lead, while the Red Sox are in Kansas City to take on the Royals. And because Tampa Bay is within 10 games, I will give them the benefit of the doubt and consider them contenders, even if very marginally. The Rays are at home to face the Mariners this weekend.
As stated above, the Rangers are on the road this weekend to play the White Sox in Chicago, while the only other team with a prayer in the West -- the Angels -- are home to the Orioles.
As you can see from the Wild Card standings above, only the Rays are within ten games, while Baltimore, conversely, has a magic number of only 14 to be eliminated from postseason hopes.
Meanwhile, in the National League...
The Phillies' magic number to clinch the division is at 31, and because the Braves are at present the Wild Card team, Philadelphia's magic number is the same to clinch a playoff spot. The Phillies are in Washington to take on the Nationals over the weekend, while Atlanta entertains the Diamondbacks.
The Brewers are threatening to run away with the NL Central, and are in New York to take on the Mets this weekend, while the Cardinals have a weekend series in Chicago against their arch-rivals, the Cubs.
The NL West is also a two-team battle, with Arizona -- as stated above -- in Atlanta this weekend, while the Giants are on the road to face the Astros.
As you can see by looking at the NL Wild Card list, it is basically a three-team race. And since the Brewers have the same amount of victories as the Wild Card-leading Braves, Houston already has reached the point where their magic number for elimination from all contention is down to 6.
Makes you kind of glad that the Tribe is still in this thing, doesn't it?
Be sure to check back on Monday for the next edition of our standings update.