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One last reprieve.

After surviving a tense ninth inning and beating the Red Sox 6-4, the White Sox are heading to Kansas City. The Royals have been fabulously friendly this season, allowing Chicago to sweep all three series between the two.

Another good series against KC is important for the Sox considering how many tough games lie ahead in August. But the Twins are just 5-5 in their last ten games, and they haven't shown any signs that they're ready to make a run. And hopefully they never will.

AJ Burnett didn't hurt his trade value today, going 7 and 1/3 innings and allowing one run against San Francisco. There is one week left before the deadline, and now that the Orioles are supposedly out of the picture, the White Sox are one of the frontrunners for Burnett's services. I wonder, though, if the Sox will go through with acquiring Burnett if it means they must also take Mike Lowell and his contract.

I wouldn't be against picking up Lowell if he weren't being paid so much; he may not be an upgrade over Joe Crede the way he's hitting right now, but eventually he'll start putting up numbers closer to his career averages (might have to wait until next season for that to occur...), and that will make him a nice upgrade over Diamond Joe.

White Sox GM Ken Williams has indicated that he doesn't want to pick up Burnett just to rent him, so if Chicago can get to the point where they're reasonably sure they can extend Burnett's contract, that could go a long way in getting a deal done. Williams recognizes that the price for acquiring Burnett is too steep just for a rental, and that's reassuring.

Over in the National League, it looks like no one is particularly interested in winning the West. The Padres are 3-7 over their last ten, and they're just a single game over .500. The Diamondbacks are 2.5 games back even though they have no business being that close to first place. The Dodgers continue to disappoint, and their hot start to the season is a distant memory.

No team is sliding faster than the Nationals, who, remarkably, are still 11 games over .500 despite allowing twenty more runs than they've scored on the season. Washington won 11 of 12 one-run games between May 29th and July. Since then, they're 4-7 in one-run games, including an 0-4 mark after the break.

After getting swept by the Nats in early June, the Athletics have gone 30-9. Normally I would be rooting for the A's, but circumstances being what they are, I'm hoping (probably in vain) that they miss the playoffs. That would be a nightmare matchup for the White Sox.

Begrudgingly, I will pull for the Twinkies to edge the A's for the Wild Card spot. But I won't pull for the Yankees. A man has to have limits.