Thanks to Stephen Strasburg, protecting young arms is on every baseball mind. In ESPN The Magazine, Tim Kurkjian writes about where the contenders with star pitchers draw the line between safe and sorry.
While it's realistically a longshot the Rays will reach the postseason, they're a team that shouldn't be counted out because of their willingness to keep grinding it out.
Teams with nothing to play for in September can be dangerous to contenders, and Tim Kurkjian runs down the list of who should cause the most fear.
The Tigers' bullpen is the kind of group that can help a team mask its faults and keep it in a pennant race.
Zack Greinke doesn't lead the American League in wins, and he doesn't pitch for a contender. But he's the AL's best pitcher and deserves to win the Cy Young Award.
The depth and versatility in their lineup make the A's a team that could rise up and become a contender in the AL West.
Chris Carpenter looks like he'll be part of the Cardinals' rotation on Opening Day, making St. Louis immediate contenders in the NL Central.
Tim Kurkjian points out the Achilles' heel -- a potential crucial weakness -- that could be exploited on each of the contending teams.
The Diamondbacks and Indians are the two teams who could be major spoilers over the final two-plus weeks of the season.
Marlins closer Todd Jones has been the most influential newcomer on a pennant contender this season.
The Orioles looked like a playoff contender not too long ago. Now, they are a mess.
The D-Backs lost 111 games last season, but good health, a weakened division and key additions have turned them contenders, Tim Kurkjian says.