As we get into this last weekend of August, many teams are seeing their hopes for the postseason start to dwindle, if they haven't already disappeared. And magic numbers for leaders in the playoff race now begin to take on real relevance.
Here is our look at the standings as the last weekend of the month is underway. We will show you the current standings, tell you who the contenders will be facing over the next three hurricane-affected days, and give you the magic numbers for such teams as the Tigers (which would of course translate to a "tragic number" for the Indians, as the current second-place squad). Any number in parentheses will be a team's magic number in the body of text:
AL Central Standings
|Kansas City||54||77||.412||17.5||Won 1|
(updated 8.26.2011 at 11:39 AM EDT)
The Tigers (28) are looking pretty, having gained a full five games on their lead in the past seven days, Detroit is at Minnesota to take on the Twins this weekend, while the Indians entertain the Royals, and the White Sox head for Seattle to face the Mariners.
AL East Standings
The Red Sox and the Yankees have the same amount of losses, and so technically there is no magic number in the East at present. Boston will play against the Athletics on Friday and Saturday, with two games being held on Saturday rather than even try to face Irene's wrath and get a game in on Sunday. Meanwhile, New York plays at Baltimore, and The Tampa Bay Rays -- marginally alive -- are in Toronto to face the Blue Jays.
AL West Standings
|Los Angeles||71||59||.546||2||Won 6|
(updated 8.26.2011 at 11:44 AM EDT)
The West is strictly a two-team race, with the Rangers (30) and the Angels ready for a head-to-head showdown in Arlington this weekend.
American League Wild Card Standings
|New York||78||50||.609||0||Won 1|
|Los Angeles||71||59||.546||8||Won 6|
|Tampa Bay||70||59||.542||8.5||Lost 1|
|Kansas City||54||77||.412||25.5||Won 1|
(updated 8.26.2011 at 11:46 AM EDT)
The Yankees (26) are just about assured an AL Wild Card, and as noted above, the Angels are at Texas this weekend while the Rays are in Toronto.
And now for the National League:
NL East Standings
|New York||61||68||.472||22.5||Won 1|
(updated 8.26.2011 at 11:48 AM EDT)
The Phillies (27) are at present comfortably ahead of the Braves. Philadelphia entertains the Marlins this weekend in another series affected by Irene, while Atlanta takes on the Mets in New York in -- you guessed it -- another weather-affected series.
NL Central Standings
|St. Louis||68||63||.519||9.5||Won 1|
(updated 8.26.2011 at 11:50 AM EDT)
This division is a true runaway, with the Brewers (22) having the smallest magic number in the Majors. Milwaukee is home this weekend to the Chicago Cubs, while the Cardinals are also at home to face the Pirates.
NL West Standings
|San Francisco||69||62||.526||3||Lost 1|
|Los Angeles||60||69||.465||11||Won 3|
|San Diego||60||71||.458||12||Lost 1|
(updated 8.26.2011 at 11:51 AM EDT)
This is a two-team race that, in fairness, should probably get at least one more weekend involving three teams, since the Rockies are hot and are capable of making up serious ground at the end of a season, as we discovered a few years ago. The Diamondbacks (29) are home to the Padres this weekend, while the Giants entertain the Astros. And those barely-in-it Rockies are in Los Angeles to face the Dodgers.
National League Wild Card Standings
|San Francisco||69||62||.526||9.5||Lost 1|
|St. Louis||68||63||.519||10.5||Won 1|
|New York||61||68||.472||16.5||Won 1|
|Los Angeles||60||69||.465||17.5||Won 3|
|San Diego||60||71||.458||18.5||Lost 1|
(updated 8.26.2011 at 11:54 AM EDT)
The Braves (22) are looking excellent to claim the NL Wild Card, and as noted above are on the road to face the Mets this weekend, while the Giants are home to Houston.
And there we have it. Please check back on Monday, when we will again update -- and perhaps have a team or two less to consider a contender.