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MLB’s pretenders and contenders right now

With about two-thirds of the regular season now in the books, we have a clearer picture about the teams that are taking the lead in the race for postseason play — all while leaving would-be threats in the dust for good.  Knowing the landscape of Major League Baseball heading into the end of the season can help your wagering on the best online betting sites.

There are many with an eye on the playoffs. Of those that are vying, here’s a look at some who can go the distance and some that should ultimately fall short.

Contenders

Miami Marlins

Don Mattingly’s work in his first year with Miami has put him in the ‘Manager of the Year’ conversation. It would have been hard to imagine Miami being in contention while Giancarlo Stanton struggled at the plate and Dee Gordon is serving an 80-game suspension. But the offensive consistency of Marcell Ozuna (17 home runs, .307 average) and Christian Yelich (.329 with 14 RBIs since the All-Star break), along with the spectacular pitching of Jose Fernandez (11-4, 2.52 ERA) can make the postseason a reality. Despite being swept by the Cubs at Wrigley Field last week, Miami has remained one of the most steady teams this season.

Detroit Tigers

The Tigers (three games behind Cleveland) are doing more than just lingering in the AL Central race. There was a time in which manager Brad Ausmus’ job was in serious jeopardy. But with Detroit heating up to the tune of eight straight victories (which ended with Thursday’s loss to the White Sox), his seat has gotten significantly cooler.

One reason for Motor City success is a familiar face on the mound, as the Justin Verlander of the present is looking much like the Verlander of old: 4-0 with a 1.69 ERA in July.

Houston Astros 

Detroit is the latest flavor of the month. That honor was bestowed upon the Astros at the end of June after winning 12 out of 14. That run pushed Houston above the .500 mark — erasing a dreadful start to the 2016 campaign. The gap between themselves and the AL West-leading is up to 5.5.  And with the Rangers adding Carlos Beltran and Jonathan Lucroy at the trade deadline, the task for the Astros to win the division became more daunting and made chasing a Wild Card more realistic.

Toronto Blue Jays

Pretenders

New York Mets

It’s been anything but easy for the defending NL champs. Nine games behind the Nationals in the East, the Mets are relegated to chasing a Wild Card. Considering all the injuries — Matt Harvey, Yoenis Cespedes, Juan Lagares, and Lucas Duda (just to name a few) — Terry Collins’ group is quite fortunate to be there. Yet, this is a team that (even with recent addition Jay Bruce) can’t get out of its own way. When the Mets pitch well, they can’t hit. When they produce runs, the pitching fails them. New York hasn’t won back-to-back games since early July. And rarely does inconsistency result in ultimate success.

Baltimore Orioles

It’s remarkable that they’ve been able to hang in first place for so long with such a bad rotation (only the Twins have a worse rotation ERA in the AL), but that’s a testament to a powerful offense, great bullpen and the wizardry of Buck Showalter.

 

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