The stretch run is here, and the MLB playoff field is slowly narrowing (good night, Red Sox). The National League wild-card race remains a free for all for the final spot, and the American League West and wild-card races are suddenly dealing with dueling slumps from the Rangers and Mariners -- but at least one of them will make it in.
So, which teams are the real World Series contenders?
This is admittedly a snapshot in time, and sometimes we can overrate how well a team is playing in the moment and miss the big picture. For the most part, however, teams that reach the World Series do play well the final month -- although, not always. Since 2016, three of the 16 World Series participants had a losing record the final month (the 2022 Phillies were 14-17, the 2017 Dodgers were 13-17 and the 2015 Royals were 15-17). The other 13 teams were an average of eight games over .500 the final month.
All in all, playing well right now is an important consideration. Let's take a look at every postseason contender and rate them on their World Series potential.