- The Washington Times - Monday, September 18, 2006

Coolstandings.com is a cool site. It determines a team’s odds of winning its division or winning the wild card.

What coolstandings.com says is that most of the division races are finished and most of the playoff spots are all but clinched.

Here’s how they were won:

• AL East — New York Yankees, 99.9 percent to win the division

On Aug. 17, the Yankees led the Boston Red Sox by 11/2 games.

Then New York swept a five-game series from Boston at Fenway Park. The Yankees outscored the Red Sox 49-26, increasing their lead to 61/2 games.

• AL West — Oakland Athletics, 99.2 percent to win the division

On July 31, the Athletics led the Los Angeles Angels by 11/2 games.

Then the Athletics went 21-6 (.778) in August to lead the Angels by 71/2. During the last six seasons, Oakland is 124-45 (.733) in August.

• NL East — New York Mets, 100 percent to win the division

The Mets began the season 45-27 (.625) and have led the division by at least 10 games since June 22.

• NL Central — St. Louis Cardinals, 99.6 percent to win the division

On Aug. 25, the Cardinals were tied for first place with the Cincinnati Reds.

Then the Reds took themselves out of the race, losing nine of their next 10 games. The Cardinals have won 13 of 21 games and held a seven-game lead through Sunday.

There are two races left — the AL Central and the NL West, and the team that finishes second in those divisions likely will take the wild card.

The Padres led the NL West by a half-game through Sunday, and by the time you read this, the Dodgers may have taken back the lead.

If the Padres win the division, it will be because they are 13-4 (.765) against the Dodgers. If the Dodgers win, it will be because they are 74-58 (.561) against everyone else.

Then there’s the AL Central, which the Detroit Tigers led by one game through Sunday. They were 71.5 percent to win the division and 99.0 percent to make the playoffs. The Minnesota Twins, in second place, were 28 percent to win the division and 97.4 percent to make the playoffs.

The third-place Chicago White Sox began yesterday five games out of the division and four games out of the wild card. They also began a three-game series with the Tigers.

If the White Sox sweep the Tigers, then there’s a race, and that would be cool.

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