Ranking Difficulty of Every MLB Playoff Contender's Remaining Schedule

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Ranking Difficulty of Every MLB Playoff Contender's Remaining Schedule
J. Meric/Getty Images
The Tampa Bay Rays hold an NL wild-card spot, but don't have any more days off this month.

Although we're five-plus months into the 2013 MLB season, nearly half the sport is still in playoff contention. Best record is up for grabs as well.

The difficulty of each team's remaining schedule will largely determine who celebrates at September's end. That's why we've ranked every team's path from least to most arduous.

Let's be clear from the onset about what exactly makes a schedule difficult.

Opposing talented teams with their own postseason aspirations is obviously a concern. The American League has more clubs that fit this description, which explains why the top half of this list is AL-heavy.

However, even baseball's bottom-feeders should be feared under certain circumstances. They're labeled "spoilers" for a reason, right? Unheralded rookies, washed-up veterans and everyone in between can upset a juggernaut by exploiting particular weaknesses.

Fatigue is a major factor during the pennant races. Off-days have become Saharan oases, so this list was influenced by the number of them that remain for each contender.

Who's smiling and who's sweating after peeking at their upcoming assignments? Indulge in this slideshow to find out.

 

*Stats provided by FanGraphs unless otherwise noted. Updates through the games of September 11, 2013.

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