Updated World Series 'Contender or Pretender' Entering 2013's Final Quarter

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Updated World Series 'Contender or Pretender' Entering 2013's Final Quarter
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

If we've learned anything from recent baseball history, it's that counting teams out of the playoff race too early can come back to haunt you.

Just ask those who counted out the St. Louis Cardinals back in 2011, when the team found itself 10 games behind Milwaukee in the NL Central and 10.5 games behind Atlanta in the NL wild-card race entering play on August 25.

The Cardinals went 23-9 over their last 32 games, clinching the wild-card berth and going on to win the World Series.

That comebacks like that are possible is one of the many reasons why baseball is such a fantastic game to follow, but they are few and far between.

With more than half of the 30 MLB teams still considering themselves contenders at this point in the season, we'll use that 10.5 game deficit as the cutoff point for inclusion on this list. Teams facing a bigger deficit, either in the divisional race or wild-card race, have been excluded from the discussion.

Don't worry. That still leaves plenty of teams in the hunt for one of the 10 available postseason spots.

Which teams have the best chances of remaining in the conversation as we head into the season's final quarter?

Let's take a look.

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