There are only three more days to go in this most special season in Major League Baseball and there is still a long way to go before the playoffs start.
First, with the addition of two teams per league in the playoffs, the format has changed somewhat. The first two positions of each division are classified automatically and then the two “best third” complete the picture.
Here's what to watch for this weekend as the TVA Sports network presents three matches.
-Saturday: Yankees vs Marlins from 1 p.m.
-Saturday: Mariners vs A's from 4 p.m.
-Sunday: Blue Jays vs Orioles from 3 p.m.
Speaking of the Jays, they've confirmed their playoff spot, but they're two games behind the Yankees and second in the East. A good run against the Orioles and a defeat by the Yankees against the Marlins could allow Charlie Montoyo's troops to improve their lot in the standings and avoid a meeting with the Rays in the first round.
The Astros reduced their magic number to 1 with a win last night and are ahead of the Angels by three games. They only need a win this weekend against the Texas Rangers to confirm their presence in the playoffs for a fourth consecutive year.
It's madness in the central division of the American. These three teams can aspire to the top spot. The Twins are in charge, but only one game ahead of the White Sox and two over the Indians. That could move as the Twins face off against the Reds who are fighting for their survival. The Sox will play against the Cubs and the Indians against the Pirates.
It's pretty much settled for the Braves, Cubs and Dodgers at the top of their respective divisions. The Padres have their place as the best second. It's the rest that gets a little tough with no less than seven teams fighting for the last four positions available.
Brewers and Cardinals face off in a series of four defining matches. The Brewers are 1.5 games away from the Cards who cling to second in the Central Division.
The Reds are in the middle of it all and have to defend their playoff position with the Giants, Phillies, Marlins and Mets still having little hope.
In short, the bet of Commissioner Rob Manfred seems to work while several teams are still involved in a race for the playoffs during the last weekend of activities.