As September barrels along, the field of MLB playoff hopefuls is dwindling.
On Sunday, the Washington Nationals became the first club to lock down a playoff spot by clinching the National League East. The Los Angeles Dodgers, Houston Astros and Cleveland Indians will soon follow suit.
The wild-card chases in each league are more open-ended, as are the battles in the NL Central and American League East, where the defending champion Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox are fending off persistent challenges.
As we sift through the picture, let's identify one thing that could keep each contender from either reaching the postseason or succeeding once it gets there.
For our purposes, "contender" is defined as any team with a 12.5 percent or better chance of making the playoffs, according to FanGraphs' calculation.