Chris Sale is on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation, Trevor Bauer is out with a fractured fibula and James Paxton is still recovering from a line drive off his left forearm. At this stage of the season, every contender is dealing with injuries, and few are more worrisome than those afflicting their top starting pitchers. It's tough to imagine surviving the stretch run and playing deep into October without a rotation in top form, or at least with the depth to cover for those less-than-healthy hurlers.
With that in mind, and with a look at the FanGraphs playoff odds page and rest-of-season projections -- which are driven by the Steamer and ZiPS forecast systems and focus on the component skills (strikeout, walk and home-run rates) that make up the Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) metric -- what follows is a quick snapshot of each contender's rotation as Labor Day, and the moment of truth, approaches.
Ever since the A's surged past the Angels in late June, it's been clear that the AL playoff picture boils down to six teams fighting for five spots. But few imagined that two months later, Oakland would be battling for the AL West lead. Meanwhile, the Red Sox's four-game sweep of the Yankees in Fenway on Aug. 2-5 basically sealed the AL East, and the recent slides of the Yankees and Astros have opened up a few different permutations of the wild card.