Trade-deadline acquisitions: As always, the A's had a lot of feelers out at the deadline, looking for a bat to improve their lineup. The extent of that was adding light-hitting catcher George Kottaras.
- Orioles in August [Pictures]
- The Grand Slam: Analyzing the Orioles — Week 17 [Pictures]
- Orioles third baseman Wilson Betemit starting to heat up
- Major League Baseball's winter meetings [Pictures]
- Projecting the Orioles' 25-man roster for 2014 Opening Day
- Baseball players on the move this offseason
See more photos »
Why they don't make the postseason: Their offense is last in the AL with 415 runs and is prone to lengthy droughts. The A's pitching appears legit, but they are apt to lose some low-scoring games with their erratic, strikeout-heavy offense.
Key stat: The A's lead the majors with 12 walk-off wins and are 18-9 in games decided in the last at-bat.
Record: 55-50 (11/2 games back of wild card)
Games remaining against teams over .500: 41 out of 57 (72 percent)
Trade-deadline acquisitions: They added now-injured designated hitter Jim Thome a few weeks ago and were close to getting Philadelphia Phillies right-hander Joe Blanton, but the Orioles weren't willing to pick up enough of his remaining contract.
Why they make the postseason: Because they continue to remain in the race without playing well consistently. The Orioles are 20-6 in one-run games, have won 10 straight extra-inning games and have eight wins when trailing after seven innings. Even though their bullpen has struggled since the break, it still keeps them in games.
Why they don't make the postseason: Orioles starting pitchers have a 4.81 ERA and the team has allowed 112 runs since the break, second-most in baseball in that span. Besides the numbers, there's been little consistency with the starting rotation.
Key stat: The Orioles have a minus-60 run differential, worst of any of the wild-card contenders. Some of that has to do with playing a lot of close games, but simply put, they've given up too many runs.
Record: 55-50 (11/2 games back)
Games remaining against teams over .500: 26 out of 57 (45.6 percent)
Trade-deadline acquisitions: Detroit made a splash by acquiring rental right-hander Anibal Sanchez and infielder Omar Infante, two key pieces who fit into the Tigers' needs right away.
Why they make the postseason: They're playing well at the right time. The Tigers have won 19 of their past 30 games dating to June 28 for a .633 winning percentage in that span, second among AL teams. They also have a favorable schedule playing in the AL Central, the least competitive of the league's divisions.
Why they don't make the postseason: Even with the likes of Justin Verlander, the Tigers' starting pitching has lacked consistency. The starters' ERA is 4.21, which is 22nd in the major leagues.
Key stat: The Tigers have the power pitching to survive the long haul. Their 8.30 strikeouts per nine innings is the best in club history.