The Major League Baseball season is long. Long enough for peaks, valleys and more peaks. Long enough for the teams that started hot to get cold, and the teams that limped out of the gate to hit their stride.
Now, though, it gets real. With one-quarter of the schedule left, the final lap of this 162-game sprint, the picture is becoming clear.
Oh, sure, there's still time for winning streaks, losing skids or key injuries to alter the postseason landscape. And several races seem destined to go down to the wire.
But we've reached the point where we can take stock of the contenders—assessing their health, recent performance and remaining schedules—and handicap the favorites.
So let's do just that.