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MLB Standings Update: The Stretch Run Nears With A Couple Of Teams On The Verge Of Dropping Out

As we reach the middle of August, things are still good for about half the teams in the Major Leagues and looking pretty grim for the other half or so.

The American League has eight teams either leading or within 10 games of the lead in their division, and the National League has only six.

Here is a team-by-team look at how the contenders stand as of the morning of August 15.

American League --

In the AL East, the Red Sox (73-46) have the thinnest of leads over the Yankees (72-46), while the Rays (64-55) are basically the only other team in contention in this division, albeit barely in contention at nine games behind. As the week begins Boston heads to Tampa Bay for a series the Rays simply must win, and New York is on the road in Kansas City, hoping to beat up on the Royals while their division rivals battle it out.

The AL Central is also a three-team race, and this one is more legitimate than the race in the East. The Tigers (64-56) entertain the Twins at the beginning of the week, while the Indians (60-57 and 2.5 games back) take on the White Sox (60-60) in Chicago.

The West is down to two teams left in contention, with only the Rangers (69-52) and the Angels (65-56) having any shot at the postseason. Los Angeles probably needs to catch Texas, because the Angels trail the Yankees by 8.5 games for the American League Wild Card. The Rangers and Angels open up a critical series in Anaheim on Monday night.

National League --

The National League is even "simpler" than the American, with only six teams in true contention for the four playoff spots.

In the NL East, the Phillies (78-41) continue their runaway for a division crown, with a nine-game lead over Atlanta (70-51).

However, the Braves hold a four-game lead over the Giants and a five-game lead over the Cardinals at present for the National League Wild Card.

The NL Central is a two-team race with the Brewers (70-51) a full five games up on St. Louis (65-56). Nobody else in the Central is within 11 games of either a division title or the Wild Card.

The West is also a two-team race with the Diamondbacks (68-53) two games ahead of San Francisco (66-55). Nobody else in the West is within 12 games of a playoff spot, at present.

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Be sure to check back on Friday for the latest update as the season winds down to its last 40 or so regular season games. As we all know, the fourth quarter is truly the quarter that counts.

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.