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AL Roundup

The Sweet Smell of September

Can it be done? Can this really be happening?

Two weeks ago, on August 16th, the New York Yankees held a commanding 10.5 game lead over the Boston Red Sox in the American League East division. As of today, that lead has been cut down to 3.5 games, with six more contests to be played between the teams.

Boston has won eight straight ballgames and fourteen of their last fifteen. They're baseball's hottest team right now, and tonight they have the opportunity to sweep Wild Card contenders the Anaheim Angels after winning big two nights in a row.

The Yankees, on the other hand, are not playing well. On Tuesday night, the Pinstripers suffered the worst defeat in the 101-year history of the ballclub. Cleveland pounded out 22 runs and shut the Yankees' batters down en route to the historic rout. Omar Vizquel tied a major league record for hits in a nine-inning game with six. The Yanks have Baltimore and Tampa Bay in their near future, and they need to win all of those games with the pressure Boston's putting on them.

With their current streak, the Red Sox have opened up the gap between themselves and the other Wild Card contenders. Anaheim now sits 3.5 games behind, and Texas has slipped to a full five games back. However, Anaheim only trails the American League West-leading Oakland Athletics by 3 games, and Texas trails Oakland by 4.5.

The next week will be very interesting. Boston plays Texas at Fenway before making the long trip out to Fenway West (Network Associates Coliseum) to play the Athletics. Boston swept the A's at Fenway East earlier this season, and Oakland hasn't had a win against Boston since Game Two of last year's playoffs. These games will certainly have a playoff atmosphere.

The only division that seems locked up at this point is the Central, with Minnesota firmly in control at 8 games above Cleveland and 8.5 over the Chicago White Sox. Barring a total collapse, Minnesota has this thing wrapped up.

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