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Playoff Race

Who's indispensable for contenders down the stretch?

For the MLB teams that aren't already locks for the playoffs, there's nobody more important than these key players to their postseason odds.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA Today Sports

Ten secrets to the success of playoff contenders

There's more to winning baseball games than meets the eye, so we took a deeper look for hidden reasons why the best teams are so good.

Thursday's Best

Rangers pull off triple play

0:51

Buchholz pitches complete game in D-backs' win

Clay Buchholz shines on the mound, only allowing one run and striking out 6 batters in the Diamondbacks' 5-1 win over the Padres.

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Pros on Little League

'Just have fun!': Current MLB stars offer advice to Little Leaguers

From favorite memories to what they learned, we asked Bryce Harper, Mookie Betts and others to talk about growing up playing baseball. The one common piece of advice to younger players: Enjoy playing the game.

Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Before they were famous: Pros who played in the LLWS

They may be household names now, but some athletes were first in the spotlight as kids on the baseball fields of the Little League World Series.

Revisiting Chris Archer Trade

Law: Does addition of Shane Baz tip scales in Chris Archer trade?

What the inclusion of a highly touted player to be named later means for the Pirates-Rays deadline blockbuster. Plus, scouting notes from around the minors.

Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire

Rays get Pirates' Baz to complete Archer deal

The Pittsburgh Pirates have sent highly touted right-hander Shane Baz to the Tampa Bay Rays as the player to be named later in the Chris Archer trade.

Law: Pirates place a bet on Chris Archer coming into his own

For what the Pirates appear to have given up, they gained a starter who could break out in Pittsburgh.

MLB

Why position players pitching is kind of a fraud

The increasingly common sight of some utility guy throwing a perfect inning? It's fun, but it's also kind of a fraud.

The year of the position-player pitcher by the numbers

As infielders, outfielders and backup catchers take the mound in record numbers in major league baseball, here are the stats to know behind the rise.

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The day we all met The Freeze