MLB Power Rankings: Playoff chases wrapping up with one week to go
MLB Power Rankings - Week 25
Two teams will wrap the season with 100 wins. The Cubs will clinch the division at some point. And someone has to win the second NL wild card. It's the last week of the regular season. Here we go.
30. Detroit Tigers
The Tigers are just terrible, you guys. They’ve lost seven straight and 14 of their last 16, have allowed double-digit runs in six of those games and are stunningly a game away from having the worst record in baseball. And they have to eat that awful Detroit-style pizza all the time, too.
Last week: 27
29. San Francisco Giants
You're not supposed to call it Frisco. You're also not supposed to follow a playoff season up with the worst record in baseball. But that's what the Giants are doing, so I guess start using "Frisco" as much as you want.
Last week: 30
28. Philadelphia Phillies
Rhys Hoskins Greatest Player in Baseball History update: .278/.409/.682 (that’s a 1.091 OPS), 18 homers, 46 RBIs, seven doubles, 32 walks, 34 runs scored in 44 games.
Last week: 29
27. Chicago White Sox
The future is definitely bright on the South Side. Jose Abreu became the third player ever — joining Joe DiMaggio and Albert Pujols — to start his big league career with four 25-homer, 100-RBI seasons. And Lucas Giolito has been awesome, with a 2.38 ERA in seven starts with the team.
Last week: 28
26. Cincinnati Reds
Scooter Gennett is basically Lou Gehrig after he hit his fourth grand slam of the season. The Iron Horse and the Iron Scoot are the only major leaguers ever with a four-homer game and four grand slams in a single season.
Last week: 25
25. New York Mets
Thor is back! He threw five pitches in a scoreless frame against the Nationals, his first big league action since the end of April. The gates of Hel are filled with the screams of his victims! But not the screams of the dead, of course. No, wounded screams, mainly whimpering, a great deal of complaining and tales of sprained deltoids and, uh, gout.
Last week: 26
24. Pittsburgh Pirates
Ay, me mateys! Twas a much finer week for us Buccos, taking three of four battles against those landlubbers from Milwaukee and St. Louis! We’re plundering the NL wild card race and making the Cardinals walk the plank and … I’m sick of this pirate accent, when’s the season over? Soon? Good.
Last week: 24
23. Atlanta Braves
The Braves have their catching situation all set for 2018, with Kurt Suzuki and Tyler Flowers officially coming back. Former White Sox great T-Flow has been really good this season in Atlanta, posting career highs in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage.
Last week: 21
22. San Diego Padres
In seven games against the playoff-bound D-backs and (maybe) Rockies, the Fathers won four of ‘em. Pretty impressive considering they’re 16 games under .500. But they’ll get the last laugh, getting to spend winter in San Diego. Note to self: Move to San Diego.
Last week: 22
21. Toronto Blue Jays
Jose Bautista might have played his last game in Toronto as a Blue Jay. He’s an all-time great in that franchise’s history. Maybe this is what Geddy Lee was singing about when he said “exit the warrior.”
Last week: 20
20. Baltimore Orioles
How about this? Jonathan Schoop has had a better year than Manny Machado. It’s true! Schoop: .299/.343/.516 with 32 homers and 105 RBIs. Machado: .264/.316/.482 with 33 homers and 95 RBIs. Machado will get a big contract in the coming years, but I’m saying c’mon and Schoop John B. (The B stands for Baltimore, in case you were wondering.)
Last week: 18
19. Oakland Athletics
The Swingin’ A’s have been low-key excellent in September, winning — no joke — 14 of their last 17 games. That includes seven in a row with back-to-back sweeps of the Tigers and Rangers. Also, Bruce Maxwell. Way to go, man.
Last week: 23
18. Miami Marlins
Seven games remain for Giancarlo Stanton to hit three homers and finish off just the ninth 60-homer season in baseball history. We’ve gotten used to big long-ball totals over the years, but this is an especially incredible show Stanton’s putting on in 2017.
Last week: 19
17. Seattle Mariners
The M’s are bottoming out as the season wraps up, losers of eight of their last nine. That’s the kind of Seattle sadness that produces some serious grunge music. Am I the only one who thinks the M’s should wear flannel alternate uniforms next season?
Last week: 13
16. Tampa Bay Rays
Last in the league in attendance — with more than 3,000 fewer fans per game than the 29th-place A’s — the Rays need to change things up. Have they considered capitalizing on the upcoming popularity of “The Last Jedi” and changing their name to the Reys? Just a thought.
Last week: 17
15. Kansas City Royals
After going 48-33 in May, June and July, the Crowns have stumbled through the last two months, 21-30 in August and September. They’ve been playing the Wilbert Harrison version of “Kansas City” a lot more than the Beatles one lately.
Last week: 16
14. Texas Rangers
Did you know there’s a guy on the Rangers named Austin Bibens-Dirkx? Has there ever been a professional athlete whose name ends in r-k-x? Oh, and #LoneStarGrit.
Last week: 15
13. Los Angeles Angels
A six-game losing streak has really derailed any hopes the Halos had of making the playoffs. Mike Trout has been the best player in baseball for six years now and has played in three playoff games.
Last week: 12
12. St. Louis Cardinals
Much like everyone in the NL Central, the Cards couldn’t stay consistent long enough to make much of a difference. After winning four straight and staying within striking distance of the Cubs with a four-game series coming up, they lost back-to-back games to the Pirates and will now have to watch the Cubs clinch the division on their home field this week.
Last week: 14
11. Milwaukee Brewers
The Crew had the Cubs right where they wanted them, 3.5 games away with four games at Miller Park. Then they dropped three of four. #NoOneWantsToWinTheNLCentral marched on, and now it’s the wild card or bust.
Last week: 9
10. Colorado Rockies
The Rox have lost five of their last seven with the Brewers and Cardinals hot on their heels for the NL’s second wild card spot. They’ve got the Marlins and Dodgers at home to wrap up the regular season. Time to step up because we all need a little more Rocktober in our lives.
Last week: 10
9. Minnesota Twins
I! Love! Pulling off a four-game sweep of the Tigers! Locking up the second AL wild card! Making the playoffs after losing 100 games! AND THE TWINS!
Last week: 11
8. New York Yankees
All rise! Aaron Judge is your new all-time single-season rookie home run record holder, smacking homers Nos. 49 and 50 on Monday and passing Mark McGwire in the process. Only a matter of time before he’s in every magazine in America saying “My name is Judge.”
Last week: 8
7. Chicago Cubs
Not too long ago, Wrigleyville was in panic mode. Not so much after the Cubbies won 10 of 12, including three of four against the Brewers up in Milwaukee. They’re getting hot enough to be considered a prime pennant contender, and now the question becomes who gets left out of the playoff rotation. They might have to play musical chairs. In which case Kyle Hendricks will win because he likes Aerosmith.
Last week: 7
6. Arizona Diamondbacks
The D-backs are into the playoffs. Next up: Could the Snakes win out? They’ve got six left against the Giants and Royals, so maybe. They’re also playing well enough that they could not just win the wild card game but beat the Dodgers in the best-of-five playoff series that would follow.
Last week: 5
5. Washington Nationals
Bryce Harper’s not back quite yet, but you figure he will be for the playoffs. The Nats have scored more than a full run per game less without him than they were with him. But the obvious key is the starting rotation, with three guys boasting sub-.2.70 ERAs who could sweep some team out of the NLDS.
Last week: 4
4. Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers will be a 100-win team, but don’t get too excited. They’re 8-21 in their last 29 games and are stumbling into the postseason. Yeah, they still have Clayton Kershaw. I get it. He’s cool. But what’s cooler than being cool? Ice cold. And that’s what the Dodgers are.
Last week: 3
3. Boston Red Sox
Early this month, the BoSox had a mere 2.5-game lead on the Yankees. But they’ve since won 14 of 17, including six in a row with back-to-back road sweeps of the Orioles and Reds, and their division lead is just fine. Chris Sale also has 300 strikeouts, the 66th time that’s happened in a single season. He’s pretty good at pitching.
Last week: 6
2. Houston Astros
Jose Altuve is gonna get 200 hits for the fourth straight season, lead the AL in hits for the fourth straight season and lead the AL in batting average for the second straight season. In other words, he’s very good at baseball. MVP? That depends, because Aaron Judge is also very good at baseball.
Last week: 2
1. Cleveland Indians
Having lost just twice since late August, you have to imagine the Windians, who are just a game away from matching the Dodgers for baseball’s best record, will probably never lose again and win the World Series. Cleveland rocks, man.
Last week: 1