In the American League East, the Red Sox and Yankees are engaging in their yearly battle atop the division, while it's the Phillies and Braves who have represented the National League East with a great deal of success. It would be easy to select a potential World Series champion from that batch of four teams.
But nothing is a lock in baseball, which is why they play the games. However, determining which team not playing in one of those two divisions has the best chance of winning this season's World Series can prove to be a bit difficult.
The Texas Rangers, who represented the American League in last season's Fall Classic, have put together another superb season despite losing their ace, Cliff Lee — who actually went to the NL East-leading Phillies.
At 73-55, they enter Monday's matchup with the Red Sox with a four-game lead over the second-place Angels, due in large part to their ability to smack the ball around the ballpark on any given night.
When it comes to the Rangers, they're right behind the Red Sox and Yankees as far as the most potent lineup in the majors is concerned. They're right up there with the Sox in batting average and are ranked third in runs scored, home runs and and slugging percentage.
With a powerful lineup featuring reigning MVP Josh Hamilton, Adrian Beltre, Nelson Cruz, Ian Kinsler and Michael Young, among others, they can make life tough on opposing pitchers.
And the Rangers pitching staff, anchored by C.J. Wilson, hasn't been too shabby, either.
The team that the Rangers fell to in last year's World Series, the San Francisco Giants, is currently in second place in the NL West, but its pitching staff makes it a bona fide contender in the NL pennant race.
Much like last season, the Giants offense has struggled for most of the season. But they're pitching, led by Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Ryan Vogelsong and Madison Bumgarner is as good as just about any staff in baseball.
Still, the offensive problems are one reason the Giants are slightly behind the surprising Arizona Diamondbacks in the NL West.
The D-Backs, who are exceeding the expectations of most, have been led by 23-year-old outfielder Justin Upton all season. He leads the team in every major offensive statistic and is shaping up to be an MVP candidate should the D-Backs come away with the NL West crown.
Ian Kennedy, meanwhile, has been surprisingly lights out this season, already compiling 15 wins to go with a sparkling ERA.
Then, there's the Milwaukee Brewers and Detroit Tigers, who lead the NL Central and AL Central, respectively.
The Brew Crew, led by Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun on offense and a dangerous trio in the rotation in Yovani Gallardo, Shaun Marcum and Zack Greinke, have shown recently just how good they can be. They're 15-3 in August and are 26-7 since dropping the first two games after the All-Star break.
The Tigers, who have been playing inspired baseball under experienced manager Jim Leyland, boast an offense centered around perennial MVP candidate Miguel Cabrera and perhaps the best pitcher in baseball this season in Justin Verlander.
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