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Eight teams are already out of the playoff race, but there are still reasons to watch.

If absence makes the heart grow fonder, then by Friday even the fans of the eight teams without a realistic shot at the postseason (read: less than a 5 percent chance) should be overjoyed to see their clubs resume play. But with two and a half months until the playoffs, those fans will need more than a shot of elation to hold their attention; they'll need to focus on someone doing something in order to endure what remains of a lost season. So let's find a subplot worthy of tracking for each team that is no longer included in the season's main narrative. (Teams are listed in descending order of their playoff odds.)

San Diego Padres
Record
: 41–49
Projected wins: 77
Playoff odds: 2.0 percent
Storyline worth watching: A.J. Preller's next wave of deals will determine the main intrigue in San Diego, but here's a secondary concern for those out west: Kevin Quackenbush. Funny name, questionable beard, and polarizing profile aside, Quackenbush finished the first half with 27 innings and zero home runs allowed. (Milwaukee's Michael Blazek has the most innings of anybody who has yet to give up a homer with 45 2/3.) You might think Quackenbush is nearing signature significance with each inning, yet in San Diego that hasn't been the case. The other Padres since the last round of expansion to complete a season with more than 25 innings and zero baseballs lost, Sean O'Sullivan (2013) and Kevin Cameron (2007), didn't enjoy Made Man status or even a hint of big-league success following their seeming trademark efforts. Presuming Quackenbush isn't prone to superstition or confusing correlation with causation, he'll try to join that not-so-select company in the coming months.





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What fans of the Astros, Twins, Marlins, and Rockies should be hoping happens this season.

Throwing the word “bad” on a baseball team can be a difficult thing, not only in that no games have been played yet, but also because it’s such a hard word to define. Are there 15 good teams and 15 bad teams? Does it take 85 losses to be bad? Or 90 losses? Or does it depend on the team? Would an 84-78 campaign from the Giants be a bad season?

That said, heading into this year, it seems like there’s a pretty big gap where you might find some room to squeeze the line between bad and unbad. There are four teams with less than a five percent chance to make the playoffs according to our PECOTA projections.

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