MLB Power Rankings: Playoff chases bunch up in NL Central, AL wild card
MLB Power Rankings - Week 19
With a month and a half to go in the regular season, the NL Central crown and both AL wild card spots are still up for grabs.
30. Philadelphia Phillies
The Phightin’ Phills are averaging fewer than three runs a game in August. That’s not great. But hey that No. 1 pick’s gonna be great, isn’t it? Remember Pat Burrell? He was a No. 1 pick. Pat the Bat!
Last week: 28
29. Chicago White Sox
Things started so promising with a four-game winning streak against the Astros and Royals that was the Sox second longest of the season. But base running mistakes, fielding errors and Derek Holland giving up seven runs in two-plus innings brought things crashing back to reality. Such is life in the rebuild.
Last week: 30
28. San Francisco Giants
The Giants managed to go 3-3 against a couple of first-place teams last week. Unfortunately that might be a negative while in the race for the No. 1 pick.
Last week: 29
27. Cincinnati Reds
Need to know how good the Dodgers and Nationals have been this season? Look no further than the last-place Reds, who are fewer games back of the Central Division leader than the second-place teams are in the East and West.
Last week: 27
26. San Diego Padres
The Padres did manage to beat the Dodgers, which is something not many teams have been able to say these days. Unfortunately the Fathers also dropped three of four to the Reds. When’s football season start in San Diego? Oh, whoops.
Last week: 26
25. Oakland Athletics
The A’s were down seven runs before they even got to bat on Saturday, a nasty night in which they gave up 20 hits to the visiting Orioles. So yeah. Maybe they should get Chris Pratt back. Seemed to work for that A's team in "Moneyball."
Last week: 23
24. Atlanta Braves
It was the Braves who finally stopped the sizzling Cardinals’ eight-game winning streak. That win also ended their own five-game losing streak. But things in Atlanta this season were encapsulated a bit too well by this weekend's blooper of a Brandon Phillips slide.
Last week: 24
23. Detroit Tigers
You know who’s bad? The Tigers, who have lost seven of their last nine to fall 11 games back of the Indians in the AL Central. The badness even extends to a future Hall of Famer like Miguel Cabrera, who’s hitting .253. That’d be a new career-low by almost 40 points.
Last week: 22
22. New York Mets
Sure the Metropolitans won four times last week, but they’re staring at double-digit deficits in the division and the wild card race and just traded away Jay Bruce and Neil Walker. Tebow Time?
Last week: 25
21. Toronto Blue Jays
Catch the mist, catch the myth, catch the mystery, catch the drift! That's to say the Jays are four games out of a wild card spot despite being the last-place team in the AL East. It makes more sense when famed Jays fan Geddy Lee sings it. Well, it doesn't make much more sense, but at least it sounds better.
Last week: 21
20. Texas Rangers
#LoneStarGrit hasn't worked out too well — even though the Rangers are only 3.5 games out of a wild card spot. But at least Adrian Beltre is still fun, like when he attempts to escape a rundown by sprinting into the middle of the infield.
Last week: 18
19. Miami Marlins
Giancarlo Stanton is very good at hitting home runs. He’s got nine of them in his last 10 games, and he has 42 on the season, which is many more than you have. That's even true if you're Aaron Judge, baseball's No. 2 home-run hitter, who still has seven fewer than Stanton.
Last week: 19
18. Baltimore Orioles
That bunched-up AL wild card race is good news for the O’s, who are just 2.5 games back. Maybe Manny Machado can get the Birds into the playoffs? He’s slashing .351/.345/.667 with four home runs and 16 RBIs in August.
Last week: 14
17. Pittsburgh Pirates
Yarr, me mateys! The Bucs have raised the Jolly Roger 10 times in their last 15 battles, helping to tighten that NL Central race that has four ships within four leagues of each other! Them scurvy dogs in Chicago and St. Louis best prepare for a plunderin’! (Or not.)
Last week: 16
16. Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays might only be two games out of a wild card spot, but they became the first American League team in almost 40 years to get shut out five times in an eight-game span. Anyone wanna bring their bat to the Trop?
Last week: 13
15. Seattle Mariners
The Angels sent the M’s back out to sea with a four-game weekend sweep, but the Mariners are just two games back of a wild card spot. Unfortunately they lost James Paxton and his 2.78 ERA to a strained pectoral muscle.
Last week: 10
14. Kansas City Royals
Quite the tumble for the Crowns, who were the victims of a four-game sweep at the hands of the white-hot Cardinals. While Whit Merrifield has been great and nearly hit for the cycle while picking up five RBIs on Sunday, Alex Gordon has been shockingly bad, now batting .198 on the season.
Last week: 12
13. Milwaukee Brewers
The Brewers’ offense might be back. Or maybe it was a result of facing Reds pitching. We’ll wait for an official designation until they can win at least a game against the Twins. But the Crew’s rebuild is still on track for a future ride down the championship slide. #Bernie2020
Last week: 11
12. Minnesota Twins
I! Love! Sweeping the Milwaukee Brewers! Being a half game out of a wild card spot! Eddie Rosario hitting four homers in one week! AND THE TWINS!
Last week: 20
11. Los Angeles Angels
Hey! How about the Angels? They went 6-1 last week and despite being 12 games back in their division currently have dibs on the second AL Wild Card spot. Oh and how’s Mike Trout doing? He’s got a 1.158 OPS, so that’s all right.
Last week: 17
10. St. Louis Cardinals
Rally Cat, Rally Cat, what are they feeding you? Nothing but wins, apparently. The Cards might have had their eight-game win streak snapped Sunday but are still scorching and just a game back of the Cubs in the NL Central standings.
Last week: 15
9. New York Yankees
A bad week for the Yankees punctuated by the Red Sox comeback on Sunday night. The Bombers might now be in a wild card or nothing position more than five games back in the AL East. Oh, and Aroldis Chapman has now blown four of his 19 save opportunities this season.
Last week: 9
8. Chicago Cubs
The Cubs might have lost Willson Contreras at the worst possible time considering the Cardinals are surging and just a game behind the North Siders. The NL Central race could be madness the last month and a half of the season with four teams within four games of each other.
Last week: 8
7. Cleveland Indians
Jay Bruce got to flee to the Cleve and has five hits in his first 13 plate appearances with the Tribe. That’d be a good clip to keep up with Michael Brantley on the DL and Jason Kipnis just off it. At least Corey Kluber is still amazing with a 2.71 ERA and four complete games.
Last week: 7
6. Arizona Diamondbacks
The D-backs were on the losing side of this weekend’s potential playoff preview with the Cubs, a tough follow up to a series with the Dodgers. And now the Astros are next. But David Peralta’s inside-the-park home run sure was fun!
Last week: 6
5. Colorado Rockies
Not a great showing over the weekend by the Rox, swept in South Florida. But one piece of good news has been Jonathan Lucroy, who’s slashing .316/.517/.421 since coming over in that trade with the Rangers.
Last week: 5
4. Boston Red Sox
They're having fun down by the banks of the River Charles these days. Could there be anything more fun than getting to watch Andrew Benintendi and Rafael Devers every day? This weekend especially, when the duo combined to perhaps symbolically beat the Yankees into submission and take command of the AL East.
Last week: 4
3. Washington Nationals
What looked like a surefire season-ender for Bryce Harper when he slipped on first base the other night ended up being just a few weeks on the shelf. That’s the definition of a sigh of relief for the first-place Nats.
Last week: 3
2. Houston Astros
Getting swept by the last-place White Sox was not a good way to start the week for the Astros. But with a 12-game lead in the division, a 1-5 week isn’t gonna hurt too bad. Plus now they have Tyler Clippard!
Last week: 2
1. Los Angeles Dodgers
Of course the Dodgers keep rolling. Four wins last week by a grand total of eight runs, with Kenley Jansen picking up the save in all four. They're one game away from their lead on the last-place Giants being the same number as Chase Utley's age.
Last week: 1