We're now in the home stretch of the 2013 regular season, meaning teams are closing in on clinching playoff spots. No one's quite there just yet, but a few teams are very close to playing scrubs the rest of the way so that their big players can get be rested for October.
Let's take a look at the latest MLB playoff odds, starting with the American League:
With their 1-0 loss to the Pirates on Monday, the Rangers' playoff odds fell roughly three percent. They're still firmly in the upper echelon of playoff contenders, but have now lost seven of their last 10 and need to right the ship quickly if they don't want talk of a last-minute collapse to germinate.
The Rays were idle Monday, but still managed to lose ground (nearly three percent) in the race to the postseason because of wins from the Orioles and Indians. Their recent slide -- losing 11 of 15 -- combined with the Rangers struggles has made the AL Wild Card a much more exciting race in the last week or so.
The Tribe got the biggest boost in playoff odds from their 4-2 victory over the Royals, increasing their chance of locking down a spot in October by nearly seven percent. B-Pro still has no confidence in the O's, their odds increasing by just two percent despite owning the same record as the Indians -- this is likely due to the Indians' soft scheduling the rest of the way.
Losses from New York and Kansas City put them on the brink of being shut out of October, dropping their odds into the low single digits. While the pair are just three and four games back of the second Wild Card position, respectively, they have to jump over at least three teams to get there and are running out of time to do so.
Things aren't quite as exciting in the National League so far as overall races go, but the fight for the division in the NL Central is definitely one to keep an eye on:
The Dodgers and Braves won on Monday, increasing their odds -- which sit about as close to 100 percent as you can get without being there -- somewhere around the fourth and fifth decimal place.
With their victory over Texas on Monday, Pittsburgh not only clinched its first winning season in 20 years, but it also hopped over Cincinnati in the race to the postseason, continuing the back-and-forth among the trio of clubs atop the Central.
If you're rooting for chaos when October comes, pray that the Cards, Bucs and Reds continue to seesaw between the division lead and the wild card. Just two games separate the three clubs at the moment, meaning tie-breaker goodness is still very much in play.
The Nats stayed alive with their 9-0 victory over the Mets, but are going to need a miracle at this point to reach October. The D'backs, who were demolished by Juan Uribe and the Dodgers on Monday, will probably be removed from this list by this time Wednesday.