Rays, Yankees head for showdown to decide AL East, PR supremacy

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September is for scoreboard watching. It's finally the time of year when players on contending teams will freely admit to what they do all year anyway: keep tabs on out-of-town scores. Until this point of the year players publicly claim to follow the pretense that they're just taking care of their own business and will let the rest of the dominos fall in place. Not anymore.

And this weekend no two playoff contenders play each other, so necks will be craning from the field to the scoreboard, particularly in a trio of tight National League races. The Phillies lead the Braves by three games in the East but will play each other six more times; the Padres lead the Giants by a half-game and the Rockies by 2 1/2 games in the West; and the Braves lead the Giants and Padres by the same margins for the wild card.

Only three of those five teams -- all of whom remain inside the Power Rankings' Top 10 -- will make the playoffs. As the Phillies host the Nationals, the Braves travel to the Mets, the Padres play at the Cardinals, the Rockies visit the Dodgers and the Giants welcome the Brewers to town, expect a bit of divided attention, as what's happening on their own field is no longer the only thing that matters.

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