For baseball fans, it's the most wonderful time of the year.
The playoff landscape is starting to truly take shape. Teams have been identified as legitimate contenders. Still, others try to grasp at straws, retaining their grip on the pretense that they could make the playoffs.
Some squads have risen to the challenge, while others have faulted, stumbled and paved their own way out of postseason play.
Here is a look at all 14 remaining contenders, with full odds of making the postseason. All percentages are based upon the rankings on coolstandings.com; prior to any of the day's action.
The New York Yankees own the third-best record in all of baseball. However, their 72-50 mark leads the American League.
As constituted, the team stands a 98.3 percent chance of making the playoffs with a 79.6 percent chance of winning the American League East.
The Tampa Bay Rays are 4.0 games behind them in the AL East standings.
With 40 games left to go, the Yankees will play 22 games against clubs with losing records: three against Cleveland, 10 against Toronto, six against Boston and three against Minnesota.
Where the Yankees should be concerned is when it comes to the 13 collective games they have left to play against Baltimore and Tampa Bay.
Thus far on the season, the Yankees are 11-12 against those two clubs.
The division race could get very interesting over the next few weeks.
Of all three division leaders in the American League, the Chicago White Sox hold the loosest grip on their respective division.
As it stands today, they have a 79.5 percent chance of making the playoffs with a 66.9 percent chance of winning the division.
With a record of 66-54, the Sox can feel the Detroit Tigers breathing down their necks, just two games behind in the standings.
With 41 games remaining, the White Sox also have a favorable schedule, as they are playing 21 games against teams with losing records.
All things considered, the White Sox actually have great numbers against the teams they have left to play this season. They'll see the Yankees, Seattle, Baltimore, Detroit, Minnesota, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Cleveland and Tampa Bay.
On a positive note, of those teams, only Kansas City, Baltimore and Detroit have a winning record against the ChiSox.
On a negative note, those three teams make up 16 of their remaining games.
The Texas Rangers find themselves with a comfortable lead in the American League West, owning a six-game lead over the second-place Oakland Athletics.
They are 96.9 percent certain to be in the playoffs, while 87.9 percent certain to win the division.
Josh Hamilton and Co. have just 41 games remaining this season; the Rangers have a tough schedule in front of them.
Sure, four of the teams have losing records and one is just barely over .500, however, the Rangers have had trouble with these teams in particular.
While they've dominated Minnesota this season (5-1)—as well as Baltimore (4-1)—they've had struggles with Tampa Bay, Cleveland, Kansas City and the Angels: all teams that have an edge on the season series.
More so, they're tied on the season with the A's at six games a piece, while only owning a 7-6 record against the Seattle Mariners.
Things could get very tricky for the Rangers during the next 41 games.
The Tampa Bay Rays have been the hottest playoff contending team over the last 10 games, going 8-2 during that stretch.
They've been absolutely rolling.
Quick aside: One other team has that same record during their last 10 games, that would be the Seattle Mariners.
The Rays are finding their groove at precisely the right time and own the first wild-card slot right now. They have a 82.1 percent chance of making the playoffs with a 63.2 percent chance of winning the Wild Card.
They also have an 18.8 percent chance of taking the division.
At 68-54, the Rays own an excellent record, even better than the AL Central-leading White Sox.
With 42 games remaining, the Rays will have to face the likes of the Royals, A's, Rangers, Blue Jays, Yankees, Orioles, Red Sox and White Sox.
Luckily for them, they own a 33-30 record against those same teams on the season. Unfortunately for them, they own winning records against the Rangers, Blue Jays and Yankees while owning losing records against the Red Sox, White Sox and Royals.
More so, they have series ties with Oakland and Baltimore.
The Baltimore Orioles have been another fantastic story this season. With their 66-56 record, they are not out of the playoff conversation yet.
The O's have a 20.9 percent chance of making the playoffs. That comes with a 19.4 percent chance of stealing one of the wild-card slots.
Ironically, their record has them already playing in the postseason, if the season ended today that is.
Orioles fans have seen a fantastic transformation take place with this team this season. They are just six games back in the AL East but would need to jump both the Tampa Bay Rays and Yankees to bring home the AL East.
Realistically, that isn't going to happen.
For the Orioles to stand a chance at making the playoffs they'll need to beat up on the two teams that they've slugged it out with all season long: The Tampa Bay Rays, whom they're 6-6 against this season, and the Oakland A's, whom they're 3-3 against this season.
If they can manage to take most of the nine games remaining between those two clubs, the O's could very well play spoiler late in the season.
Simply put, you're not a fan of baseball if you don't appreciate what teams like the Oakland A's have done this season.
With a 65-56 record, the A's have a 50.7 chance of making the playoffs this season with a 40.1 percent chance of taking one of the wild-card berths.
It seems that for Oakland, if there is a will, there is a way. Having just recently acquired shortstop Stephen Drew from the Arizona Diamondbacks, it appears that the A's are trying to hunker down for a long haul into October.
The schedule certainly does favor the A's chances. With Minnesota, Tampa Bay, Cleveland, Boston, Los Angeles, Seattle, Baltimore, Detroit, New York and Texas left to play, the A's have winning records against four of those teams. (CLE, BOS, LAA and NYY)
They only own losing records to the Twins and Mariners, while splitting the season series to date with Tampa, Baltimore, Detroit and Texas.
In other words, Oakland is going to need to dig deep if they plan on winning a wild-card berth.
Unlike the Orioles, the Tigers have better odds on their side.
There is a 52.9 percent chance that the 64-57 Detroit Tigers make the playoffs. More so, they have a 32.9 percent chance of still winning the American League Central. They are only two games back after all.
With 41 games remaining, the Tigers have a fantastic chance of overtaking the Chicago White Sox for the division.
The Tigers have to play the Blue Jays, Angels, Royals, White Sox, Indians, A's and Twins, of which only the Blue Jays and Indians own winning records over the them.
The seven games remaining against Chicago can swing the power of the division, as they own a 7-4 record on the season series there.
More pressing, the Tigers have 10 games remaining against the Royals. They're 7-1 against Kansas City so far this season.
It is really hard not to jump on the Nationals' bandwagon this season. They're young, fun and extremely talented.
In fact, with their Major League Baseball-best record of 76-46, it is no surprise that they have the best odds of making the playoffs as well.
The Nats have a 99.5 percent chance of playing in the postseason with an 84.8 percent chance of winning the division.
The Atlanta Braves trail them by six games with the Nats having just 40 left to play.
The Nationals have essentially dominated the teams they have left to play this season: Atlanta, Philadelphia, Miami, Chicago, New York and Milwaukee.
However, there are two exceptions. They have a losing record (0-3) against the Dodgers with three more games to play. Also, they have seven games to go against the Cardinals, a team they've yet to play this season.
Cincinnati has gone 7-3 in their last 10 games and still have no Joey Votto back in the lineup.
The Reds are 74-49 with 39 games to go this season, and they own the second-best record in all of baseball. Of course, that means they have the second-best odds of making the playoffs.
The team has a 96.3 percent chance of postseason play with a 82.6 percent chance of winning the division.
The Pirates are 6.5 games behind in the NL Central race.
Basically, if the Reds want to play in October, they just need to keep doing what they're doing. They have a pretty light schedule over the course of the last 39 games with a quarter of their games coming against Houston and the Cubs.
If so desired, the team might be in the position to rest a couple of players for October.
The Giants have been playing some solid baseball, taking over the NL West division from the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Both teams have gone 6-4 in their last 10 games, so the pace is being kept at the very least.
The 67-55 Giants own just a 0.5-game lead over the Dodgers for the West. This is obviously the closest division race MLB is seeing this season. (For now at least.)
The Giants find themselves with a 52.7 percent chance of making the playoffs. They own just a 46.5 percent chance of winning the division.
With 40 games remaining, and a race as tight as it is, every game is going to matter for the Giants.
Broken down, the Giants have eight games remaining against the Dodgers. Thus far they are 5-5 on the season with the boys in blue. More fittingly, they close out the season playing each other.
They have four games against the Braves, whom they're 2-1 against; three games against the Astros, whom they're 5-1 against; three games against the Cubs, whom they're 4-0 against; nine games against the Diamondbacks, whom they're 4-5 against; seven games against the Rockies, whom they're 8-3 against; and lastly six games against the Padres, a team they're 8-4 against.
Though they aren't even leading their division, the Atlanta Braves are one of the very best teams in baseball this season, especially with their 70-52 record.
Only four other teams in all of baseball own a better record. Unfortunately for the Braves, the Nationals are one of them.
That said, the Braves have a 89.0 percent chance of making the playoffs with a 73.7 percent chance of landing a wild-card slot.
While they've slumped lately, going just 5-5 in their last 10 games, the Braves are still an incredibly tough team to beat.
Where the Braves need to be cautious is in their five remaining games against Washington and their three remaining games against the Pirates. Should they be able to hold off those two teams to some degree, they'll be no problem making the postseason.
Is it fair to say that everyone wants to see the National League MVP playing in October?
In order to do so, the Pirates have to continue playing top-tier baseball. Going 4-6, like they have in their last 10, will not get it done.
The Bucs have a 48.0 percent chance of making the playoffs with a 39.5 percent chance of taking a wild-card berth.
They should, considering their 67-55 record.
However, with 40 games to go, a lot can go wrong. The Pirates are 6.5 games back in the division, so they have to play extremely hard to keep their wild-card ticket punched.
Fortunately, or unfortunately for them, however you wish to look at it, they only play the Braves three more times, same goes for the Cardinals.
That means that Pittsburgh will have to beat up on the likes of the Brewers, Astros and Cubs to name a few.
The Dodgers are neck and neck with the Giants, fighting it out for the right to play in the 2012 NL postseason.
With their 67-56 record, the Dodgers are just 0.5 games behind San Francisco in the middle of a series that could shift that balance.
The Dodgers have a 45.3 percent chance of making the playoffs with a 38.4 percent chance of winning the NL West.
In order to accomplish either feat, the Dodgers need to step their game up the rest of the way.
The Dodgers have eight games remaining this season against the Giants. They need to take five of those games.
More concerning, they have six games remaining against the two best teams in baseball: the Nationals and the Reds. Fortunately for the blue, they have a 5-1 record in the six previous games against those two clubs.
The NL Central has been a pretty impressive division this season. The St. Louis Cardinals are still fighting for their right to play in October.
With a 65-56 record, they're certainly not out of it yet.
In fact, they have a 50.1 percent chance of making the playoffs with a 41.2 percent chance of grabbing a wild-card berth.
That means the Cards will have to do better than the 5-5 record they've owned over the last 10 games.
They are eight games out in the Central, so that is essentially a lost cause, but being just 1.5 games back in the wild-card race makes things very interesting for St. Louis.
With 40 games remaining, the Cards play 21 games against teams with winning records. More so, they play the Nationals seven times and the Reds six times.
They've yet to play the Nats this season, but are just 4-5 against the Reds so far.
American League Playoff Teams
New York Yankees
Tampa Bay Rays
National League Playoff Teams
San Francisco Giants
From this pool of teams, I can see the Rays beating the A's in the one-game playoff. I see the Pirates beating the Braves in the NL.
From there, I could see the Rays running the table in the American League, while the Reds take the helm in the National League.
Could it be a Rays/Reds World Series? I'm not ready to go that far yet. For now, I just see those 10 teams being the players come playoff time.