With 11 days left in the season, things are looking pretty good for the San Diego Padres. After having lost the NL West lead twice in the last week, the Padres rebounded with yet another win against the Dodgers to reclaim their spot atop the standings. SI.comâ€™s Joe Sheehan explains that the Dodgers have often been the sometimes down-on-their-luck Friarsâ€™ saving grace. He points out that in five games against the Dodgers this month, the Padres have allowed only four runs.
While thatâ€™s not to say that the Padres may not find themselves in a rut when they bounce from Los Angeles back to San Diego, their winning streak in LA could give them the boost they need to fend off the Giants and Rockies for the pennant, whom they hold a half game and three-game lead over, respectively.
But playoff action wonâ€™t just be heated in Dodger Stadium, as the Aâ€™s and Rangers go at it, and college football action rolls full steam ahead into Week 4â€™s Thursday night showdown between Miami and Pittsburgh.
Oakland Athletics vs. Texas Rangers (10:05 p.m., ET) â€“ The Rangers will start ace-pitcher Cliff Lee tonight as they look to clinch the AL West in California. If the boys from Texas achieve their four-game split, the Rangers will win their first division title since 1999.
Pittsburgh Panthers vs. Miami Hurricanes (7:30 p.m., ET) â€“ No. 19 ranked Miami will travel to Heinz Field to take on the Pittsburgh Panthers for the first time since 2003 tonight. Miami is looking to rebound from a tough loss at the hands of No. 2 ranked Ohio State.
By The Numbers
5 â€“ Number of years general manager Ray Shero has agreed to stay with the Penguins in his contract extension that runs through the 2015-16 season. Shero has helped bring the Penguins to the playoffs in each of his four years as GM and also managed a Stanley Cup win in 2009.
$645,000 â€“ 2009 salary of Paul Hoolahan, the CEO of the Sugar Bowl. Hoolahanâ€™s salary and other expenditures are being called into question by the PAC for possible abuse of the Bowlsâ€™ tax-exempt status.
150 â€“ Number of points Sprint Cup driver Clint Bowyer was docked after his winning car from last weekendâ€™s Chase race failed a second inspection by NASCAR officials. SI.comâ€™s Tom Bowles examines the winners and losers of Bowyerâ€™s penalty.