Spoiler Alert!: Five MLB Teams Set to Ruin Contenders' Playoff Runs
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"Frustrating" is the perfect word to describe many MLB teams' seasons.
High expectations have, in many cases, not been met. Injuries have been part of the reason, but much of it is lack of quality play.
But just because certain teams such as the Cubs, Nationals, and Indians have been virtually knocked out of the playoff picture doesn't mean they can't fight to do the same to teams that are in the race.
The reality is that someone is going to get hurt by a team playing spoiler down the road. Here are the five teams with the best chances at hurting someone and giving their fans a reason to end the year on a high note.
The feisty Fish are never out of ballgames.
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If your team was in the final stretch of the season, battling for the division crown, would you want to face Josh Johnson on the mound and Hanley Ramirez and Dan Uggla at the plate?
Didn't think so.
The Marlins have been a .500 team this year, currently at 57-59 but 10.5 games back of the Atlanta Braves.
There isn't a soft spot in their lineup. Ramirez, Uggla, Cody Ross, Mike Stanton, Wes Helms, and Gaby Sanchez are all hovering around in the dugout, waiting for their chance to hack. They may strike out a lot, but you know what that means: lots of power.
Florida has the most experience with playing spoiler on this list. In both 2007 and 2008, a series win over the Mets to end the season knocked New York out of the playoffs.
Having to face Josh Johnson once every five days isn't very fun either.
Coco Crisp (right) and Rajai Davis can run Oakland past contenders.
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Sitting with the same record as Florida, Oakland will be a major spoiler in late September.
With 21 games remaining against Texas, New York, Tampa Bay, Minnesota, and Chicago, the opportunities are there for the A's. One big sweep or a few series wins could be a major factor in the outcome of divisions.
You may not have noticed, but the Oakland starting rotation has been great all season long. Despite losing Ben Sheets, who was underperforming anyway, to injury, the team has relied on All-Star Trevor Cahill, Gio Gonzalez, Dallas Braden, and Vin Mazzaro for their success.
If they are to knock anyone out of the postseason, it will be a result of their pitching staff.
A talented team and powerful lineup might become someone's demise.
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Covering the Brewers this season has been difficult. From Trevor Hoffman's struggles to the starting rotation's awful outings to Carlos Gomez's strikeouts and everything in between, it's been a bumpy road.
But perhaps the part of the season that has hurt the Crew the most is their consistently inconsistent play—and I mean exactly that. The team easily goes from a sweep to getting swept.
Their streakiness and powerful lineup will assuredly allow them to be major spoilers in September.
If a team catches the Brewers on one of their many hot streaks, they are very difficult to beat.
A lineup of Rickie Weeks, Corey Hart, Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, and Casey McGehee doesn't sound like too much fun to face from an opposing pitcher's standpoint when the bats are rolling. The Brewers have posted double-digit run totals 10 times this season, including 20-0 and 18-1 victories.
If you are in the playoff stretch, hope that Milwaukee doesn't get hot when they come to town.
Yes, the O's made the list.
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Two weeks ago, who would've thunk this one up?
But now with new manager Buck Showalter, the Orioles have suddenly turned their play around dramatically. They're finally a loose bunch of professional ballplayers simply having fun.
Sitting at 9-4 since the managerial switch, Baltimore has become a threat to win any game they play, regardless of who they're playing.
They swept the Angels and took three of four against the White Sox, who are battling for the AL Central title.
There is no need to get specific with why the O's are going to be spoilers. They don't look awful anymore. In fact, they are only 10 games under .500 at home, which is even more of an advantage now in the stretch run.
Los Angeles Angels
The Angels don't appear to have a shot at October for once, so they'll reverse roles.
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How weird is this? The Los Angeles Angels are always running away with the AL West at this point of the season. Now they're 8.5 games back and playing spoiler?
I wouldn't have believed this if someone had told me way back in April that it would happen. But it has, and the Rangers have the largest division lead in all of baseball with the Angels fading away.
Nonetheless, the Halos still have a good team that will win more games and should finish above .500.
A dangerous lineup with Bobby Abreu, Torii Hunter, Howie Kendrick, Juan Rivera, Erick Aybar, and Hideki Matsui can cause problems for opponents.
Now with Dan Haren added, a rotation of All-Star Jered Weaver, Haren, Joel Pineiro, Ervin Santana, and Scott Kazmir is very formidable.
The Angels have the makeup of a good team and can be just that. But this year, they'll have to be a good team as spoiler.