MLB News: Every Contending Team's Chances of Making the Postseason?
It's now the month of August meaning it's the official start of the baseball pennant race.
There are still many teams in contention for a playoff spot, especially in the National League.
Some teams are running away with playoff spots, some are close, and some are fighting to stay alive.
What are the chances of each remaining contending team to the make the playoffs and why or why not? Find out here.
Out of all the contending teams in Major League Baseball, the Texas Rangers have the best shot at playing in the postseason. It's kind of surprising considering they haven't made the playoffs since 1999.
The Rangers have the biggest lead of any division leader, eight games, over the Angels.
Texas has a stacked offense, and they made some improvements at the trade deadline. They acquired Jorge Cantu, and Cristian Guzman to complete a very talented infield quartet along with Elvis Andrus, and Michael Young.
Along with their two biggest boppers, Josh Hamilton and Vladimir Guerrero, the Rangers have one of baseball's deepest lineups.
They also traded for Cliff Lee to give them a formidable 1-2 punch with C.J. Wilson atop the starting rotation.
Unless the Rangers fold or the Angels win 70 percent of their remaining games, the Rangers are on their way to October.
Chance at making postseason: 99 percent
New York Yankees
The New York Yankees, leading the AL East by one game over the Rays, are almost an automatic to make the playoffs.
Armed with an already deep and extremely talented lineup, the Yankees went out at the trade deadline to acquire two additional bats, Lance Berkman and Austin Kearns.
The Yankees already have the best infield in all of baseball, and a pretty solid starting rotation.
The one problem the Yankees have had all season is setting up games for Mariano Rivera. They dealt for Kerry Wood from the Indians.
Unless the bullpen is terrible or star players go down to injuries, the Yankees are pretty much a lock to play in October.
Although they only have a one game lead in their division, they do have a 6.5 game lead in the Wild Card race.
Chance at making postseason: 98 percent
Tampa Bay Rays
The Tampa Bay Rays own baseball's second-best record, and they are in a pretty good position to make the playoffs.
With a 5.5 game lead in the Wild Card race, the Rays have the offense, and starting pitching to take them deep.
After a little drop off mid-season, Tampa Bay has gotten itself back together, and they have something this season that they've always lacked, a closer.
Rafael Soriano has been a terrific stopper in the ninth inning, only blowing two saves all season.
With the young talent and balance the Rays have, barring a collapse, they should make it as either division or Wild Card champions.
Chance at making postseason: 92 percent
San Diego Padres
Believe it or not, the San Diego Padres still have the National League's best record on August 1.
They weren't picked by anyone except themselves to do anything this season, but they are now legitimate contenders to go deep into the playoffs.
Adrian Gonzalez of course leads the charge, but the Padres went ahead and were buyers at the trade deadline. They traded for Miguel Tejada, and Ryan Ludwick to fill in some key positions.
The Padres offense has always lacked, but now they have another power bat behind Gonzalez in Ludwick, and some versatility in an older Tejada.
Of course the Padres are all about their pitching, especially their dominant bullpen led by Heath Bell.
They're in a dogfight with the Giants in the NL West, but I'd say they have a great shot at playing in October for the first time since 2006.
Chance at making postseason: 85 percent
San Francisco Giants
The Giants are in a fight in both the NL West and Wild Card races. Right now, they lead the Wild Card by 1.5 games and trail in their division by two games.
The sole reason why the Giants are contending, and why they could make the playoffs is their starting rotation. It's as deep as any team in baseball and if they can get a more dominant Tim Lincecum down the stretch, they can be hard to beat.
The one surprise is that they didn't trade for a big hitter at the deadline. Many people thought the Giants would be in the running for Prince Fielder or Adam Dunn, but neither happened.
Pablo Sandoval hasn't had a great second season, and their offense is what could derail them. Still, they have a decent shot at making the playoffs.
Chance at making postseason: 80 percent
If anybody picked any other team not named the Phillies to be leading the NL East on August 1, then you know more than the experts.
The Atlanta Braves are the leaders of the division, and they do have reasons to believe they can win it.
Of course it'll be tough with the Phillies breathing down their neck, but the Braves do have a solid starting rotation to carry them. It was pretty good already, and improved once they got Jair Jurrjens back.
They made some moves to fortify themselves by trading away troubled shortstop Yunel Escobar for veteran Alex Gonzalez. They just traded for Rick Ankiel to play some center field, and Kyle Farnsworth to deepen their bullpen depth.
They did just lose Martin Prado to the disabled list, but they do have enough to make a run at a division title.
Chance at making postseason: 78 percent
Normally, the Phillies wouldn't be this low on the list of chances to make the playoffs, but this has been a different season.
Now, the Phillies have done some things to get better and make a 2007-type run at October, although not as steep a climb, and it may just pay off.
They traded for long time Astros ace Roy Oswalt to team him up with Roy Halladay, and if they were to make the playoffs, that would be the best 1-2 punch around.
Thing is, they still have some holes in their offense, and it got worse with Ryan Howard's ankle sprain today.
Jayson Werth is playing center field for the injured Shane Victorino, and Domonic Brown was called up to play right field.
They're still without Chase Utley at second, using Wilson Valdez.
Their bullpen isn't great either, so it's still going to be hard for the Phillies to win consistently.
Chance at making postseason: 75 percent
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals currently lead the NL Central by one-half game over the Cincinnati Reds in a two-team race.
Along with already having a great threesome atop the starting rotation in Carpenter, Wainwright, and Garcia, they added Jake Westbrook via trade.
Along with that rotation, they of course have a lineup that includes Albert Pujols.
The Cardinals think so much of outfielder John Jay that they traded away Ryan Ludwick to make room, and Jay has been red-hot lately.
Their infield other than Pujols isn't terrific, and they haven't gotten much out of catcher Yadier Molina, but the Cardinals still has a good roster.
It will be tough to make the playoffs, especially if they can't win the NL Central, but they are in good position.
Chance at making postseason: 72 percent
Chicago White Sox
The White Sox seemed buried earlier in the season, but a scorching-hot 11-game winning streak propelled them into first place in the AL Central.
They don't have a sexy roster regarding brand-name players, but they have guys that get the job done.
Mainly, they are led by a decent starting rotation. It includes Mark Buehrle, Gavin Floyd, and John Danks, and they just traded for Edwin Jackson who threw a no-hitter this season.
The big deal lately for the White Sox is the boost they've gotten at third base from 21-year-old Dayan Viciedo.
Since Viciedo's call-up, he's batting .318 (21-for-66) with two home runs and six doubles.
Along with power bats like Paul Konerko, Carlos Quentin, and Alex Rios, plus a solid bullpen, the White Sox have a team that can win a division.
Chance at making postseason: 72 percent
The Cincinnati Reds trail the Cardinals in the NL Central by a half of a game in their quest to make their first postseason since 1995.
They have a good shot at it, since they can hit like none other in the National League.
Leading the charge is first baseman Joey Votto, who is in the running for a triple crown this season.
He's their best hitter, but not their only good hitter. Their entire infield can swing the bat, including Brandon Phillips, and Scott Rolen.
Their starting rotation just got a little better with the return of Edinson Volquez. They have a very young starting rotation led by veteran Bronson Arroyo.
Along with Volquez and Johnny Cueto, they have two fine rookies in the backend, Mike Leake and Travis Wood.
The Reds are a well-rounded team, and it'll be a fight with the Cardinals in the final two months.
Chance at making postseason: 70 percent
The Minnesota Twins find themselves one-half game behind the White Sox in the AL Central, and are red-hot.
After a huge cold spell, Minnesota has now won eight straight games to put themselves right back in contention.
They have not gotten a big season out of Joe Mauer, who received a cortizone shot in his right shoulder yesterday.
Justin Morneau has been on the disabled list for a while, and the Twins have been shifting guys all around the field.
They traded for closer Matt Capps to replace Jon Rauch and move him to the setup role, which does do good for their bullpen.
What has given Minnesota a huge boost, is the stunningly great season that Carl Pavano has had. He's 13-6 with a 3.21 ERA.
The Twins have been finding ways to stay in the race all season as they seem to do every season, and they will be right there until the end.
Chance at making postseason: 70 percent
The Colorado Rockies are always baseball's best second-half team. They made their magical run to the World Series in 2007, finishing the regular season winning 14 of 15 games.
Right now, they are five games behind in the NL Wild Card race, and hope that they have a similar run in them.
The Rockies are being led by two star players this season, Ubaldo Jimenez and Carlos Gonzalez.
Left fielder Gonzlalez hit for the cycle Friday night, capping the game off with a walk-off home run. Ubaldo Jimenez is the leading candidate for NL Cy Young, with a record of 16-2.
The Rockies just got back shortstop Troy Tulowitzki to add some pop to their offense.
They're just one of a bunch of National League teams trying to get hot at the right time.
Chance at making postseason: 62 percent
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Los Angeles Dodgers trail in the NL Wild Card race by 5.5 games, but they did trade for some important players to fill up holes.
They traded for Scott Podsednik to fill in for Manny Ramirez in left field. They acquired Ryan Theriot, and Ted Lilly from the Cubs to help out second base and bolster the starting rotation.
They are a better team now than they were a couple of weeks ago when they were struggling to find starting pitching, and didn't have an everyday second baseman.
Yet the Dodgers still have some pitching problems, especially with closer Jonathan Broxton, who hasn't been his dominant self now for a while.
What the Dodgers have to do like a lot of other teams, is hope to get the right mix of hitting and pitching to try and pass teams that are better than them in their own division.
Chance at making postseason: 60 percent
Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox have been snakebit by injuries all season, and therefore trail the Rays by 5.5 games in the AL Wild Card race.
The good thing for Boston, is that they have a full starting rotation together which is obviously key in making a run.
Positionally, they have some healthy players and some still recovering from injuries.
The bad thing is for Boston, only two teams will make the playoffs in the AL East. It's a virtual lock that the Yankees will, so the question is, can they catch up to the Rays?
I would think not. The Rays are a younger, fresher, and healthier team right now, and it'll be hard for Boston to overcome a 5.5 game deficit with the games winding down.
At least Boston has five reliable starters to try and win them some games to perhaps make a run at the playoffs.
Chance at making postseason: 60 percent
New York Mets
The New York Mets, after an awful month of July, going 9-17, are right on the edge of playoff contention along with the Florida Marlins in the National League.
The strange thing about the Mets, is that they have some tremendous talent in their starting lineup.
Right now though, they only have three guys clicking, Jose Reyes, Angel Pagan, and David Wright.
What is really hurting the Mets offensively are the players either coming back from injuries, or the players that just can't hit consistently.
Since making his season debut after the All-Star break, Carlos Beltran hasn't hit or even fielded like he's accustomed to.
Rookie first baseman Ike Davis, other than hitting the occasional home run, isn't hitting, and the Mets aren't getting anything out of Jeff Francoeur and Luis Castillo.
Their rotation has three reliable arms, but they're just too inconsistent as a team to go on a run, thus they are .500 at 53-52.
They currently sit 6.5 games behind in the NL East.
Chance at making postseason: 55 percent
In a similar position to the Mets, the Florida Marlins are on the edge of playoff contention, with a record of 53-52.
The Marlins made some strange moves at the trading deadline. They shipped out third baseman Jorge Cantu, a move seemingly saying they're out of contention.
But then, they traded for left-handed reliever Will Ohman to try and improve a mediocre bullpen.
At the beginning of the season, the Marlins thought of themselves as contenders, but were really reeling mid-season.
They got on a hot run to get back into the race, but just like the Mets, they're just too inconsistent.
Ace Josh Johnson has faltered over his last two starts, giving up eight runs, and if he's tired, the Marlins will have no chance.
They also lost last year's NL Rookie of the Year, left fielder Chris Coghlan for the season. He tore a meniscus while throwing a pie at the face of teammate Gaby Sanchez following a walk-off hit.
The Marlins and Mets are in the same boat regarding a playoff spot.
Chance at making postseason: 55 percent
The Detroit Tigers at one point this season, were fighting for first place with the Minnesota Twins. At one point in June, it looked as if there would be a three-team race to the finish line in the AL Central.
That all changed once the Tigers started suffering injuries to key players. In fact, the Tigers have lost four key players recently due to injuries.
Carlos Guillen, Brandon Inge, Magglio Ordonez, and Joel Zumaya are all on the disabled list, with Zumaya being out for the season with a fractured elbow.
Looking at the Tigers depth chart, it's full of rookies and fill-ins. At the trading deadline, to try and fill in a spot with a veteran player, the Tigers acquired long time Indians infielder Jhonny Peralta to play third base.
Their starting rotation isn't terrible,but with fill-ins at three spots, and falling seven games out in the division, the Tigers will be hard-pressed to make the playoffs this season after losing a 163rd game last season.
Chance at making postseason: 45 percent
Los Angeles Angels
This is probably going to be the season when the Angels don't make a final push for a playoff spot.
Not only are the Angels not in first place in the AL West, they are shockingly nowhere to be found, eight games behind the Rangers,and nine in the loss column.
They did suffer a major blow earlier in the season when their big first baseman Kendry Morales went down. He broke his leg after violently jumping onto home plate to celebrate a walk-off grand slam.
They did trade for Dan Haren to help out their starting rotation, but it's going to be a case of too little, too late for the Angels.
Chance at making postseason: 40 percent