It’s no secret how an MLB team lands a playoff spot.

It all starts with the starters. Last year, eight of the October-bound squads ranked in the top 10 in terms of starter’s ERA. Meanwhile, the final two, the Boston Red Sox and the Cleveland Indians, finished No. 11 and No. 14, respectively.

Of course, there are other factors that go into the equation. Most notably, a prolific lineup and a lockdown bullpen are key components. Plus, the strength or weakness of a given team’s division is an important consideration.

Still, without a high-quality rotation, there’s no chance of making a run at the World Series. With those observations in mind, let’s separate the contenders from the pretenders as all 30 teams hit the one-quarter mark in the MLB season.

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