By Paul Casella

The dust has settled from this week's All-Star festivities, meaning teams are ready to make that final postseason push in the season's second half.

Some teams are certainly in better shape to do so than others, but plenty of clubs sitting just outside of the postseason picture are poised to make a run. While nearly every team is still in postseason contention to some extent, thanks to the two Wild Card spots in each league, each postseason hopeful still has its sights set on qualifying via a division title.

For six teams -- the Yankees, Royals, Angels, Nationals, Cardinals and Dodgers -- that simply means holding on to their first-place leads. That said, no team sits more than 11 games out of first in its respective division in the American League and only three clubs -- the Phillies, Brewers and Reds -- sit more than 11 back in the National League.

What's the significance of 11 games, you ask? Well, that's the largest All-Star-break deficit overcome during the Wild Card era. That said, only three teams since 1995 have overcome first-half deficits larger than five games to win their division.

Over the last two seasons, nine of the 12 teams leading their division at the break held on to win their divisions. Of the other three, the largest deficit overcome was 2 1/2 games by the 2013 Dodgers.

While history certainly favors the frontrunners, the following teams serve as reminders that every division is still very much up for grabs. Here's a look at the six largest second-half comebacks during the Wild Card era (since 1995).

Note: This does not include teams that came back from huge deficits to win a Wild Card spot, as amazing as the 2007 Rockies and 2009 Tampa Bay Rays were. These are teams that actually climbed to the top of their division.

4(t). 1995 Mariners
Deficit: Five games back
Result: Lost in ALCS

Although the five-game first-half deficit facing the '95 Mariners didn't seem particularly insurmountable, they had the added difficulty of leapfrogging not one, not two, but three teams. Seattle held a mediocre 34-35 record entering the break and sat five games back of both the Angels and Rangers, as well one game behind the A's. Making the Mariners' second-half comeback all the more surprising is the fact that they really didn't show any signs of a turnaround until mid-September.

They continued to play .500 baseball for the better part of the next two months, racking up a 20-20 record over their first 40 second-half games. As of Sept. 12 that year, they actually faced a six-game deficit -- one more than the hole they had dug by the All-Star break. That's when they began their rapid ascension up the standings, winning 11 of their next 12 games to suddenly take a three-game lead in the AL West. Even that wasn't enough, however, as Seattle then dropped three of its next five games to finish in a first-place tie with the Angels. That said, the Mariners ultimately completed their second-half surge and nabbed the division crown by handily beating the Angels, 9-1, in a tiebreaker game before later falling to the Indians in the ALCS.

4(t). 2002 A's
Deficit: Five games back
Result: Lost in ALDS

Subjects of the book and subsequent film Moneyball, the 2002 A's played, quite literally, a made-for-Hollywood season. Oakland trailed the division-leading Mariners by five games at the All-Star break before embarking on one of the greatest stretches in baseball history. The A's went an incredible 24-4 in August, culminating in an AL-record 20-game winning streak that stretched from Aug. 13-Sept. 4. The historic run was capped off with three consecutive walk-off victories -- but even that wasn't enough to take complete control of the AL West.

Despite building up a four-game lead with that record-setting run, the A's fell back into second place on Sept. 15 after dropping four out of six games, including three straight to the new division-leading Angels. Oakland ultimately emerged victorious by winning nine of its last 11 games, all of which came against divisional foes. The Halos, however, got the last laugh. While the division champion A's succumbed to the Twins in the ALDS, the Angels snagged the AL Wild Card and wrote their own fairytale ending by winning the franchise's first World Series title.

4(t). 2001 Indians
Deficit: Five games back
Result: Lost in ALDS

The Indians' comeback to win the AL Central in 2001 was actually more of a second-half collapse on the part of the Twins than anything else. In fact, the Tribe actually put up a better winning percentage before the All-Star break (.576) than after it (.545). 

After racing out to a 55-32 (.632) record heading into the break, the Twins went just 30-45 (.400) the rest of the way. They dropped 15 of their first 20 games in the second half and never fully recovered, falling as far as 8 1/2 games back before finally finishing six games behind the division champion Indians.

3. 2003 Twins
Deficit: 7 1/2 games back
Result: Lost in ALDS

Though the Twins' 7 1/2-game deficit isn't the largest on this list -- and not even the largest overcome by them -- their second-half turnaround in 2003 just might be the most stunning. Consider the fact that they not only sat 7 1/2 games back heading into the All-Star break, but they were reeling at the time, having lost each of their final eight games and 12 of their last 13.

The Twins wasted no time putting that losing streak behind them, though, winning five straight to start the second half. Still, another slump in late July left Minnesota 6 1/2 games back entering play July 30. They went 39-18 from there on out, finishing with a 46-23 (.671) second-half record -- a far cry from their sub-.500 (44-49) first half.

The Twins moved into a tie for first place on Sept. 3, then spent the next two weeks bouncing back and forth between second and a first-place tie. They took control of the division for good on Sept. 15 when they won their third straight game en route to an eventual 11-game, division-clinching winning streak. Minnesota had stretched its lead in the AL Central to six games -- and locked up a division title -- by the time that streak finally came to an end Sept. 25.

2. 2012 A's
Deficit: Nine games back
Result: Lost in ALDS

The first time the A's sat alone atop the AL West in 2012 didn't come until they recorded the final out of the regular season. Oakland played to a .500 record (43-43) heading into the All-Star break before using three separate second-half surges to overtake the Rangers.

The A's started their climb up the standings by winning 10 of their first 11 games out of the break, including three via walk-offs. They later reeled off a nine-game winning streak Aug. 24-Sept. 2, capping off a stretch in which they won 15 of 17 games. They pulled to within three games by the end of that 17-game stretch, but again fell to five games back as late as Sept. 24. Undeterred, the A's then won eight of their final nine games, including a season-ending sweep of the Rangers to overtake Texas on the season's final day. The celebration didn't last long, as the Tigers dispatched the A's in the ALDS.

1. 2006 Twins
Deficit: 11 games back
Result: Lost in ALDS

No strangers to late-season surges, the Twins pulled off the largest second-half comeback of the Wild Card era just three years after their other furious rally landed them a division title. After dropping their first game out of the break this time around, the Twins rattled off eight straight victories and won 12 of their next 13 overall -- but had little to show for it. Thanks to dropping two of its next three to those division-leading Tigers, Minnesota still sat 9 1/2 games out of first place as of Aug. 1.

Fortunately for the Twins, the Tigers went just 13-16 in August and 12-16 in September/October to finish the season. Detroit actually posted a losing record (36-38) in the second half after playing to a Major League-best 59-29 record before the break. That left the door open for the Twins to swipe their fourth division title in five years, courtesy of a 49-27 second-half record. It proved to all be for naught, though, as Oakland quickly swept Minnesota in the ALDS.

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Paul Casella is a Sports on Earth contributor and a reporter for