MLB: Every Contender's Most Valuable Pitcher Down the Stretch

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MLB: Every Contender's Most Valuable Pitcher Down the Stretch
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There's a month and change to go, and the playoff picture is taking shape.

The AL East remains intriguing as the Red Sox and Yankees tussle back and forth to see who will have home-field advantage throughout the AL side.

After a three-game sweep over Cleveland, the Tigers have distanced themselves in the AL Central. Detroit's a team to watch come postseason—especially if Boston or New York sees Verlander twice.

Texas continues to front-run in the AL West, but the Angels aren't going away. Can the Rangers possibly catch Boston and New York for the top record in the American League?

Even though the Phillies are on pace to win 100-plus games, the Braves are still within shouting distance. The two combatants face off in Atlanta during the last three games of the season. Whether or not those games matter, we'll see.

The Brewers have played so well over the last month that the Cardinals are no longer a big threat.

The most intriguing race remains out in the NL West. Will San Francisco right the ship? Can Arizona hang on? And finally, don't sleep on Colorado—'specially if San Francisco and Arizona continue to falter. The Rockies have been known to get hot during the final month. Just look at what they did in 2007 and 2009. The next two weeks will be critical for them.

In this list, I take a look at the most important pitchers down the stretch—not necessarily the best.

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