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MLB Standings Update: With 10 Weeks Left In The Season, The Races Are Heating Up

With only 10 weeks to go until the end of the baseball regular season, nine teams in the American League are either first or within 7.5 games of the division lead.

Meanwhile five teams (Toronto, Baltimore, Kansas City, Oakland and Seattle) are just about to the extinction point, although of course in two months, things could change.

Yet the Blue Jays and the Orioles would not only have to make up major ground on a division leader, but also two other teams well ahead in the standings in the East, while the Royals in the Central have four squads well ahead of them, and in the West the Athletics and Mariners have the daunting task of somehow trying to make up ground on the defending American League champion Rangers and the challenging Angels.

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Here is a look at the nine teams in the American League who can be said to be in legitimate contention, and at who their opponents will be over the weekend.

In the East, the Boston Red Sox (59-37) hold a two-game advantage over the New York Yankees (57-39). Boston is home vs. the Mariners over the weekend, while the Yankees are also at home, against the Athletics.

The Tampa Bay Rays (52-45) are 7.5 games behind yet still dangerous, and will be in Kansas City to take on the Royals beginning Friday.

The AL Central is, as you know, tight and becoming tighter, as the Detroit Tigers (52-46) are a half-game up on the Indians (51-46), while the Chicago White Sox (47-51) and the Minnesota Twins (46-52), though trudging under .500, are both within six games of the lead.

Detroit is in the midst of a four-game series in Minnesota over the weekend, while the Indians will go head-to-head with the White Sox in Cleveland beginning on Friday night.

The West has pretty much morphed into a two-team race, with the Rangers (56-43) three games up on the Angels (53-46). Los Angeles just took the last two games of a series with Texas to stay within range, and the Angels will now go to Baltimore before coming to Progressive Field to begin next week, while the Rangers will be at home this weekend to take on the Blue Jays.

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Eight teams in the National League are either first or within four games of a division lead, while eight teams are ten games or more behind and cannot be said, at this time, to be in contention.

In the East, the Philadelphia Phillies (61-36) are four games in front of the Atlanta Braves (58-41), with the Mets next closest at 12.5 games behind.

The NL Central is a four-team battle, as is its counterpart in the AL. The Pittsburgh Pirates (51-45) and the Milwaukee Brewers (53-47) are in a virtual tie for the lead, while the St. Louis Cardinals (51-47) check in only one game behind. The Cincinnati Reds (48-50) are struggling, yet are only four games behind the Pirates and Brewers.

In the NL West, the defending world champs are leading the way as the San Francisco Giants enter the weekend at 57-42. The only team within hailing distance of the Giants are the Arizona Diamondbacks (53-46 and four games back), while all other teams in the West are at least ten games behind.

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With the weather insufferably hot, a hot pennant race is conversely a "cool" thing to witness and to be a part of. With 17 teams firmly alive and ten weeks to go, things are sure to stay interesting, and should one of the teams "out of it" catch lightning in a bottle and make a move, we will be sure to tell you all about it...

...in our next installment.

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