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5 MLB Teams Most Vulnerable to a Late-Season Collapse

Brett AppleyCorrespondent IAugust 22, 2011

5 MLB Teams Most Vulnerable to a Late-Season Collapse

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    It seems like only days ago that the MLB season was just underway, and excitement filled the air. 

    We're now in the dog days of summer, and that excitement has been replaced with anxiety and tension as the playoffs are just over a month away.

    Most of the divisional races are close enough to this point where any number of teams have a shot of making it into October. Just like any other year, we will definitely see some teams collapse just as the postseason approaches.

    It is never easy to tell which teams it will happen to, but I'm here to make my best guess as to who has the most potential for a late-season collapse.

5. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

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    The LA Angels had big hopes going into 2011, and they are still only six games behind the division leading Texas Rangers.

    LA has lost four games in a row, and seven of their last ten. If they want to make the divisional gap, they will have to play much better.

    The Angels still have a ton of games left to play within their division and are only 19-19 so far against teams in the West. They should be beating the A's and Mariners much more and their only chance of gaining ground on the Rangers is if they can destroy those teams during the final stretch.

4. Chicago White Sox

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    The White Sox have actually been playing really good over their last ten games compared to most other teams on this list, but they are still vulnerable to a collapse.

    With a record of 63-63, Chicago currently stands as the third place team in the AL Central. While the White Sox can score a ton of runs at any time, their pitching has been lacking this season.

    Unless the bats keep fire and the pitching can stay golden, Chicago is due for a collapse.

3. San Francisco Giants

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    Tell me what you think of this lineup?

    CF Andres Torres, 2B Freddy Sanchez, RF Carlos Beltran, C Buster Posey, 3B Pablo Sandoval, LF Nate Schierholtz, 1B Brandon Belt, SS Jeff Keppinger, P Barry Zito, Closer Sergio Romo.

    I think that lineup could beat most in the National League. Well, every single one of those players were unavailable due to injury Tuesday night (except Sandoval).

    The Giants have been literally plagued with injury all season long and they are doing their very best to stay in contention. While they have a ton of experience and will most likely be in the playoff race until the last day, there is still a chance that all these injuries will come back to haunt them and they will collapse.

2. Cleveland Indians

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    Shockingly, the Cleveland Indians are only two games behind the division leading Detroit Tigers in the AL Central.

    Did I say shockingly?

    Impressive is another good word, because the Indians have been absolutely fantastic all season, and have enough young talent to be good for years to come.

    The fact is, their pitching staff isn't that great and most of their offense is made up of very young players. That doesn't bode well for them to complete a comeback and make the playoffs.

    But I'm pulling for them.

1. Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Another team that has surprised many this season is the Arizona Diamondbacks.

    They currently lead the NL West by three and a half games over the Giants, but they could easily turn into last season's Padres and collapse at the end. Why?

    To start, their bullpen and starting rotation is relatively weak and untested in pressure situations. While J.J. Putz has been excellent thus far as their closer, he is very susceptible to becoming the Putz of old.

    Justin Upton and Chris Young, who are the biggest offensive producers, have no real playoff experience. While nobody on the Giants had playoff experience prior to last season, that rule doesn't normally take effect for everyone.

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