Adding an extra wild-card spot in each league was intended to give more teams a chance at the playoffs and generate more late-season excitement.
That objective has definitely been accomplished, as at least six teams have a chance at qualifying for the postseason as we head into the final two weeks of the regular season. (The Detroit Tigers are another team in playoff contention, but are too far behind in the wild-card standings and need to win their division.)
But will any of the teams still in contention for a playoff bid actually be able to overcome their current deficit in the standings? None of these clubs are closer than two games to a wild-card spot. That's not an insurmountable margin with 13 to 14 games remaining in the regular season. But it is a gap that needs to be closed nonetheless.
Here are the seven teams that are alive in the playoff chase with two weeks remaining on the 2012 schedule. At least four of them still have a realistic shot at qualifying for the postseason. However, it's just as likely that these clubs won't be playing past Oct. 3.