2012 All-Star Break: The Best MLB Teams That Will Not Make the 2012 Playoffs
The first half of the 2012 Major League Baseball season has been nothing short of thrilling.
Five of the league's six divisions are led by no more than four games, and heading into the second half of the season with the new, wild playoff format, only the league's most hungry teams will be granted playoff spots.
Here are the league's best clubs that will be watching the 2012 MLB playoffs from home...
No. 9: Philadelphia Phillies
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37-50 (.425); 14 GB; Last Place NL East
On Opening Day, Philadelphia's odds of winning the 2012 World Series were a Major League best 6/1 along with the Detroit Tigers. However, due to their horrendous first half, the Phillies are now 19/1.
The Phils were named the National League's favorite due to their stacked pitching staff (on paper).
Despite the previous success of their big name starters, the lethal trio of Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels has combined for a 15-14 record with 117 earned runs allowed.
At 14 games back and in the last place in the powerful National League East division, the Phillies will need their Cy Young caliber staff to bring them back to playoff contention.
No. 8: Miami Marlins
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41-44 (.482); 9 GB; Fourth Place NL East
In their first season in the fan-friendly Marlins Park, the Miami Marlins are stuck between triumph and tragedy.
On the positive side, the Marlins have one of the most exciting young stars in the league in Giancarlo Stanton.
Conversely, the budding star is out 4-6 weeks due to knee surgery.
While Stanton is out, the team will turn to their higher-paid players like Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Hanley Ramirez and Heath Bell—one of the biggest free agent busts in recent history.
No. 7: Arizona Diamondbacks
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42-43 (.494); 4 GB; Third Place NL West; 23-21 at Home
Though the reigning division champions are in the weakest division in the major leagues, the snakes simply don't have the depth to out-duel San Francisco's dominant pitching staff or the return of Los Angeles' Matt Kemp.
Their batting order boasts one of the best 3-4-5 combo's in the league in Justin Upton, Chris Young and Paul Goldschmidt, however the trio has a combined .253 batting average and just 27 home runs in 2012.
D-backs ace Ian Kennedy was under a close eye coming off a career year in 2011, yet their best pitcher in the first half of 2012 was Wade Miley, the Louisiana native with a 9-5 record and 70 strikeouts.
No. 6: Toronto Blue Jays
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43-43 (.500); 9.5 GB; Fourth Place AL East; 23-19 in games played in Canada
The fourth-place Blue Jays have one of the best power hitters in the league in the heart of their batting order, however even Jose Bautista's league-leading 27 home runs can't help the Blue Jays overcome the dominant American League East division.
Perhaps the front office should advise Bautista to keep denting SUV's on road games to make up for a last-place spot in the division.
No. 5: Oakland Athletics
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43-43 (.500); 9 GB; Third Place AL West; 24-20 at Home
The Oakland Athletics continue to prove themselves as one of the league's best small-market clubs, finishing the first half of 2012 with a .500 record.
The A's have an MLB-leading eight walk-off wins this season and a true All-Star snub in Josh Reddick's impressive campaign. However, the A's simply don't have the depth to contend with Los Angeles or Texas for a playoff spot—let alone remove the tarp on the top deck of O.Co Coliseum.
No. 4: Boston Red Sox
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43-43 (.500); 9.5 GB; Fourth Place AL East; 21-19 on Road
After losing three out of four games to the division-leading New York Yankees, the Red Sox find themselves with a modest .500 record and nearly ten games out of first place.
What's even more disconcerting for the Fenway faithful is that even with one of the most creative ballparks in the league, the Red Sox have a 22-24 record at home.
Not to worry, though, as New England Patriots games begin in just 62 days.
No. 3: Tampa Bay Rays
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45-41 (.523); 7.5 GB; Third Place AL East; 24-19 at Home
However, despite the tumultuous season in Tampa, the Rays are still four games over .500 and in third place in the league's top division.
With the New York Yankees ending the first half of 2012 with a comfortable seven-game division lead, the Rays are in desperate need of a sweep against the pinstripes.
No. 2: Baltimore Orioles
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45-40 (.529); 7 GB; Second Place AL East; 23-20 on Road; 22-20 at Home
Buck Showalter's Baltimore Orioles finishing the first half of 2012 five games over .500 is the greatest story of the season so far.
Every American League East club has a .500 record or better, yet the usual fifth-place Orioles find themselves with a winning record both at home and on the road through 85 games.
However, unless the O's can somehow stop the Yanks dominance, they will need to rely on a wild card spot to make their first playoff appearance since 1997.
Since they lost game six of the 1997 ALCS, the Orioles have one third-place finish, nine fourth-place finishes and four last-place finishes.
No. 1: New York Mets
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46-40 (.535); 4.5 GB; Third Place NL East; 26-20 at Home
Met fans have been treated to their best season since the 2006 playoff appearance.
From Johan Santana's no-hitter—the first in franchise history—to the overnight sensation R.A. Dickey and his un-hittable knuckleball, the Mets have one of the most exciting teams heading into the second half of the season.
Currently the Mets are just 4.5 games out of first place in the National League East.
However, unless Bryce Harper's Nationals slow down their division lead and the Braves continue with their injury woes, the Mets will be watching the 2012 playoffs from home again.