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Congratulations to the Tampa Bay Rays, who are the champions of the American League East despite losing their second straight game against the Detroit Tigers. Their magic number was just one and the Red Sox let them in the back door late last night with a resounding 19-8 loss to the Yankees at Fenway Park.

Make that very late last night. The Red Sox made their final out at nearly 1 a.m. (EDT) due to weather delays, making hit pretty much impossible for the Rays to have a normal champagne celebration. Manager Joe Maddon and a few players remained at Comerica Field to watch the the game while the rest of the team watched from the team hotel.

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Much of the playoff picture is complete, but there's still plenty of intrigue in both leagues. The Twins and White Sox are still battling for the AL Central title, and it could be decided on Monday if a half-game still separates them after tomorrow's games. The White Sox would have to play a makeup game against the Detroit Tigers if it still has postseason implications.

The NL East race is technically undecided, with the Phillies two games ahead of the Mets with two to go, but it really has come down to the wild card duel between the Mets and the Milwaukee Brewers. The Mets are one game back and will send pitching ace Johan Santana to the mound against the Marlins today on three days rest.

I was talking to my co-worker Dan Connolly (who may be relating the same conversation in his blog), and we agreed that it is shaping up to be one of the more compelling baseball postseasons in awhile. The Rays just might be on a collision course with Maddon's old team (the Angels) and everybody wants to know if this is the year the Cubs finally end their century-old world title drought.

There's also Joe Torre's 13th consecutive postseason appearance. The way things look right now, the Dodgers will open the Division Series at Wrigley Field and the Brewers will face the Phillies, the NL scenario still could shake out differently in the next couple of days. Whatever happens, this is going to be fun.

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