What a difference a year makes. The once-lowly Tampa Bay Rays clinched their first playoff appearance in franchise history today with a 7-2 win over Minnesota. The Rays will earn at least a wild-card spot, but they also hold a 2 1/2-game lead over Boston in the AL East, the Tampa Tribune reports. Tampa finished with a league-worst record of 66-96 last season.
In Chicago, meanwhile, the Cubs clinched the NL Central, and hopes are high the team will end its 100-year title drought, the Chicago Tribune notes. "Let me tell you this, this team has played hard all year, they've treated the people in Chicago to a damn good season of baseball," said manager Lou Piniella.