With summer officially underway, Shohei Ohtani and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. are in a two-player race for the 2021 American League MVP award. Their eye-popping individual stats, however, haven’t exactly translated into team success.

The Los Angeles Angels (36-36) and Toronto Blue Jays (35-35) are only fringe playoff contenders as the midway point of the season gets closer. Both teams have a .500 record, sitting in fourth place in their respective divisions.

Los Angeles is 7.5 games out of first place, trailing both the Oakland Athletics (44-29) and Houston Astros (43-28), who are tied atop the AL West. The surging Seattle Mariners (38-36) are a game ahead of the Angels for third place. L.A. is 6.5 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays (43-30) for the second AL wild-card berth.

The Cleveland Indians (39-30) and New York Yankees (38-33) are also ahead of the Angels in the wild-card race.

Toronto is tied with Los Angeles in the standings, trailing five teams in the wild-card race. The Blue Jays are seven games behind the Boston Red Sox (43-29) for first place in the AL East. Sitting behind both the Rays and Yankees, the Blue Jays face an uphill battle in trying to compete for a division title.

The third-highest ERA in the AL has prevented the Angels from competing with the best teams in the division. The Blue Jays dealt with their share of early-season injuries, and a 4.44 ERA over the last month has contributed to a 12-14 record in the last 30 days.

Wasting an MVP season is nothing new for the Angels. Los Angeles has one playoff appearance and no postseason victories over the last decade, during which Mike Trout has won three MVP awards with three second-place MVP finishes. Now that Trout is missing an extended period of time with a calf injury, Ohtani has taken over as the team’s top superstar.

Ohtani is tied for the major-league lead with 23 home runs. The 26-year-old ranks third in RBI and slugging percentage. Ohtani is hitting .272/.357/.649 to go along with a .270 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 53.1 innings pitched.

Guerrero has also hit 23 home runs, and he’s been the sport’s best hitter through 70 games. With 59 RBI and a .337 batting average, the 22-year-old is only a few points shy of leading the AL in all three Triple Crown categories. Guerrero’s 1.111 OPS is first in baseball by a sizeable margin.

Guerrero’s father, Vladimir Guerrero Sr., won the 2004 AL MVP award as a member of the Angels.

Shohei Ohtani Los Angeles Angels
Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels watches as the ball clears the wall on a two-run home run in the fifth inning of the game against the Detroit Tigers at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on June 20, 2021 in Anaheim, California. Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images