Who will win the AL, NL wild-card races?

Boston Red SoxSt. Louis CardinalsAtlanta BravesNew York YankeesChicago CubsPhiladelphia PhilliesBaltimore Orioles

Red Sox and Braves

Phil Rogers

Chicago Tribune

Forget the angst of Red Sox Nation. The Yankees are taking care of the Rays, and the Rangers will do the same with the Angels. Terry Francona's guys will march into October.

It's the National League wild-card chase that gives us the best shot at a Game 163. The Cardinals are carrying a huge head of steam into season-ending series against two of baseball's weakest teams, the Cubs and Astros, and the already unsettled Braves end the season against the Phillies.

I'm going to say the Cardinals spit up a late-inning lead against the Cubs and another in Houston — or maybe even one next Thursday in a wild-card playoff — allowing the Braves to limp into the playoffs, Red Sox-style.

progers@tribune.com

Red Sox and Cardinals

Steve Gould

Baltimore Sun

The Red Sox's grip on the AL wild card lead is anything but firm, but their pursuers aren't exactly stomping on their fingers. The Red Sox have lost 12 of 15, but the Rays and Angels, both 21/2 games behind Boston entering Thursday, had dropped seven of 10 and five of 10, respectively.

The Red Sox win at least four at the Yankees and Orioles, and Los Angeles and Tampa Bay lose just enough for Boston to claim the wild card by a game.

The Cardinals have been given the gift of finishing against the Cubs and Astros.

They'll sweep their final six games to force a one-game playoff with the Braves, then claim a playoff spot with their sixth win over them in seven games this season.

sgould@tribune.com

Red Sox and Cardinals

Mike DiGiovanna

Los Angeles Times

The Red Sox are reeling, but they will hold onto the AL wild card and avoid one of baseball's most epic collapses because as bad as their starting pitching has been, they still have Jon Lester and Josh Beckett lined up to start three of their final six games against the Yankees and Orioles.

In the NL, I think the Cardinals will either overtake the Braves or force a one-game playoff. St. Louis is hot, having won eight of their last 10 before Thursday, and they have a much easier schedule, closing with three games against the Cubs at home and three games at Houston,

The Braves close with three games at Washington and three games at home against the Phillies, who have the best rotation in baseball.

mdigiovanna@tribune.com

Red Sox and Cardinals

Keith Groller

Morning Call

The Red Sox, even with their rotation in tatters, will find a way to hold on in the AL. Boston will benefit by getting away from Fenway, where remnants of "The Curse" still resurface in the form of fretting fans who always think the sky is falling. Besides, the Yankees, Boston's weekend opponent, will be in hangover mode after clinching the AL East.

St. Louis, even without Matt Holliday, has made a great charge in the NL. Had the Cards not blown half as many late leads as they have, they would have won the NL Central. Instead, they're at the Phillies' mercy. If the Phils finally get the champagne out of their system, they'll storm Atlanta and open the door for the Cards.

kgroller@tribune.com

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