A few teams are barely hanging on to their playoff hopes as the MLB season rolls into August.
By this point the majority of the divisions have split into two groups: those fighting for the title and those looking to next year. Only a few remain on the fence.
Each team has a reason their postseason chances don't look good, be it division rivals, slumps or fatigue.
The Pittsburgh Pirates had a great start this year and their season is already better than many expected.
Their bats have been an issue, resulting in Pittsburgh's fall in the standings. New acquisitions Ryan Ludwick and Derrek Lee should bring more offense to the Pirates’ slumping lineup.
Now it seems pitching is their issue. What once was a starting rotation ranking at the top of the league now has a 6.59 ERA in the past eight games. Fatigue in the pitching rotation could cost the team a playoff berth.
The Cincinnati Reds are just a game behind the Pittsburgh Pirates in the NL Central.
They swept the San Francisco Giants over the weekend, which could spark a comeback through the next two months. Giants World Series MVP Edgar Renteria has pulled his weight in Cincinnati. He’s batting .333 through his past six games and hit his ninth career grand slam in last night’s game against the Houston Astros.
The Reds could make a run through the last few weeks of the season, but they have to hope the three teams in front of them all falter.
It will be difficult to fight back to the top but it is still possible. The White Sox held on to slugger Carlos Quentin and have a chance to climb the standings.
Both Detroit and Cleveland are having great seasons, though. It seems that Chicago’s chances are slim.
The Tampa Bay Rays play in an extremely tough division. They’re currently 11 games back in the AL East. This is a big deficit but the majority of their remaining games area against division rivals. They still have six games against the Yankees and nine against the Red Sox.
While a playoff berth is possible, the Rays need to start improving now. If they don’t, their playoff dreams will be crushed quickly.