And down the stretch they come! A look ahead at the final few weeks of the regular season, and why your team is doomed, in capsule form. Today, the American League ... East • 1. Tampa Bay Rays. Record: 85-56. Magic number: 20. Big strength: Evan Longoria is back after a stint on disabled list with a fractured wrist. Big weakness: Epic collapse underway? Just got swept by the freakin' Blue Jays. Schedule: Next 13 games go like this ... three at Boston, three at New York, three at home vs. Boston, four at home vs. Minnesota. Even if this is a disaster, should still earn wild card berth. Conclusion: No chance.• 2. Boston Red Sox. Record: 84-58. Games behind: 1 1/2. Big strength: Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell Kevin Youkilis back in lineup. Big weakness: Fate has decreed that Boston's run of sports greatness is over, as was demonstrated with the Tom Brady injury. Schedule: Six of next nine against Tampa Bay. Conclusion: They are doomed. Central • 1. Chicago White Sox. Record: 80-62. Magic number: 18. Big strength: Gavin Floyd/Jim Thome. Big Weakness: Did Carlos Quentin bust his hand by punching a locker? He says no ... Magic Eight Ball says maybe. Anyway he's most likely out for the season. Third baseman Joe Crede also out with a sore back. Schedule: Next six games at home vs. Toronto and Detroit. Sweet. Conclusion: Playoffs not yours. • 2. Minnesota Twins. Record: 78-65. Games behind: 2 1/2. Big strength: Republicans have rolled up Fred Thompson and departed, meaning Twins can finally come home. Big weakness: Bullpen. Schedule: End season with three games against the White Sox. Conclusion: Metro-no. West 1. Los Angeles Angels Of Anaheim Near Fullerton. Record: 86-56. Magic number: 3. Big strength: Plays in the AL West. Big weakness: With division wrapped up, Rally Monkey binging on bananas and blow. Schedule: Mike Scosia can rest his regulars, making sure they are not sharp for playoffs. Conclusion: Besides the LA teams, no team in either west division has a winning record. Sad, really.
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