The Thrill
and the Agony

The week’s baseball wind-ups

With six games to play in the regular season, only two teams have clinched their division titles: Atlanta in the National League East and San Francisco in the NL West. Barry Bonds has played another incredible season for the Giants, with 44 home runs, 88 RBIs, and a .337 batting average. Opposing pitchers tremble at his swing: he has been walked 147 times this season, more than once per game.

In the NL Central division, the Houston Astros are dead even with the Chicago Cubs, with St. Louis trailing only by three and a half games. In the AL East, the New York Yankees have secured a playoff spot, though they remain one game shy of the division title. The Kansas City Royals and the Chicago White Sox are tied for second in the AL Central – five games behind Minnesota, a team that has won its last nine games. The Oakland Athletics are holding off the Seattle Mariners by four games in the AL West.

In the race for the American League wild card playoff berth, Seattle trails the Boston Red Sox by two and a half games. The National League wild card race is cutthroat, with eight teams still in a fight for one spot. The Florida Marlins lead the pack, with Philadelphia in hot pursuit one game back. Two games behind are the Central Division leaders, the Astros and Cubs, and the Los Angeles Dodgers trail by three and a half.

When the dust settles early next week, the last left standing will count their blessings, tally their hopes, and grit their teeth for the playoffs.

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