Angels in the Outfield and Now in the Playoffs, too!

The team with the longest name in baseball, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim became the first team to clinch a division title (AL West) and entry into the 2008 MLB playoffs with their win over the 4th place AL East Yankees. The next closest team in their division is the Texas Rangers who are 17½ games out. They will likely play the wild card team if it’s either the Red Sox or the Rays because of the rule that the division winner can’t play the Wild Card team if that team is in their division.

With the win, closer Francisco Rodriguez is within 1 save of tying the all time single season saves record of 57 set by Bobby Thigpen in 1990 as a member of the Chicago White Sox.

The other races look like this:

AL East: The Rays, after last night’s 14 inning win over the Red Sox, are still 2½ games up on Boston with 3 more games to be played between the two teams next week in Tampa Bay.

AL Central: The Chicago White Sox, despite injuries to SP Jose Contreras, 3B Joe Crede and big bat in LF Carlos Quentin hold a small lead over the Twins who are 4 games out of the Wild Card race.

NL West: The other team in LA, the Los Angeles Dodgers recently surpassed the, slumping at the worst time, Arizona Diamondbacks. Leading the way for the men in blue is the former disgruntled member of the Red Sox, LA’s newest # 99, LF Manny Ramirez and rookie OF Andre Ethier. Both men are absolutely on fire right now and show no signs of cooling off any time soon! Meanwhile, the power hitting of the Diamondbacks from back in April seem anemic at the moment.

NL East: The New York Mets currently hold a small lead over the Phillies, but after the recent flip flopping  of the division lead by these two teams and the embarrassing demise of the 2007 Mets, anything is possible! The Phillies are also closely involved in the NL Wild Card race.

NL Central: The team with the best record in the MLB is also the division leader in the NL Central, the Chicago Cubs! Who recently had a playoff affecting scare as both SP’s Carlos Zambrano and Rich Harden missed starts recently due to injury/soreness. Both have been given a clean bill of health from team doctors (and why not) and are admittedly both feeling better, too (whew!). The second place team in the NL Central, the Milwaukee Brewers are currently in the lead for the NL Wild Card race.

Who do you, the readers of Baseball, think will win the remaining divisions and the 2 Wild Card races?

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