No, we didnt abandon you for good. The MLB Power Rankings are back, and we only have two weeks to go until the most wonderful time of the year is upon us – the Postseason.
Well wonderful unless your team is named the Braves, Twins, Phillies, Reds, Angels, Rays…ah you get the point.
Anyhow, some things have changed since we’ve last updated you a few weeks ago; some big, some small. But let’s get to it, and see where the teams lineup with 13 days of the season left.
30. Minnesota Twins (55-95) – The Twins recently went on a 13 game losing streak and are now 40 games under .500 after getting swept by the red-hot Mets this weekend. Next year, guys. But probably not.
29. Atlanta Braves (58-91) – Positives in Atlanta: Dansby Swanson and Matt Kemp. Negatives: Literally everything else. Not what Braves fans are accustomed to seeing as this miserable journey to close out Turner Field comes to an end.
28. San Diego Padres (62-87) – The Padres are clearly looking to tank into a high draft pick in 2017, yet they improbably swept the Giants in San Francisco last week. They are now 6-0 against them in the second half, and host them for four more games next week.
27. Arizona Diamondbacks (63-86) – The disaster that was the 2016 Arizona Diamondbacks season is nearing an end, and maybe spirits will be a little bit higher after Sunday’s roller coaster ride of a win against the Dodgers, in which Arizona blew a 7-1 lead before coming back to win in 12 innings. The pitching situation clearly hasn’t gotten any better in the desert.
26. Cincinnati Reds (63-86) – After their suprsingly hot start to the second half, albeit too late, the Reds have cooled off considerably and are 31 games back of the Cubs, who clinched the NL Central Division last week. Now they get to face the Cubbies who will likely be resting a good chunk of their starters with the playoff spot locked.
25. Tampa Bay Rays (64-85) – The Rays will likely finish the season as the only team in the AL East to finish under .500. Of course the Yankees are trending in the Ray’s direction with five straight losses. It’s never fun being left out.
24. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (65-84) – The Angels were able to string together some wins against the Blue Jays this weekend, but playing spoiler will do little to bring the spirits back up of an Angels squad that is on pace for it’s worst record of the 21st century. Matt Shoemaker’s scary baseball to the head incident just over a week ago was the lastest of such woes, preceded by a Mike Trout car crash that he walked away from unscathed.
23. Philadelphia Phillies (67-83) – The Phillies would make the postseason if they won out and the Giants lost out. So you’re telling me there’s a chance? They would have to sweep the Mets for that miracle to happen, which won’t.
22. Oakland Athletics (66-83) – The A’s were able to get the series win against the AL West leading Rangers this weekend, to the surprise of many. Weren’t the A’s reponsible for the Rangers’ collapse in 2012. That’s right, but the A’s will fall short of the postseason for the second consecutive season after having gone three years in a row. Now you have to wonder how long guys like Khris Davis will stay aroud before other teams outbid Oakland.
21. Milwaukee Brewers (68-82) – The Brewers may be dead, but they just took 3 of 4 from the Cubs, with Chicago still trying to clinch during the first game of the series in which Milwaukee won. Of course the Cubs are takign it easy now, but you still have to smile at least a little bit when you win a series against the best team in baseball.
20. Chicago White Sox (72-77) – Will Chris Sale remain in the South Side at to be named “Guaranteed Rate Park” in 2017? Nothing is guaranteed about that one, but it is guaranteed that the Sox’s rate of winning games will go down if he does. I can also guarantee that a lot of people aren’t happy with the new name. Punny.
19. Colorado Rockies (72-77) – 2016 will be looked at as the season that got away from the Rockies right when it mattered the most. They had a prime chance to contend for the wildcard when they exploded out of the gates in the 2nd half, and then when they got over .500, they went on a 2-8 stretch that killed them. Of course the loss of Trevor Story hurt them, but they weren’t without additional talent in the form of guys like Nolan Arenado and Carlos Gonzalez. Maybe next year is when Colorado breaks past their trend of mediocrity.
18. Miami Marlins (74-75) – Similar situation here. The Marlins showed serious signs of promise in the second half, only to be derailed by a Giancarlo Stanton injury. Even with series wins against teams like Pittsburgh and Los Angeles, poor play against some of the poorer teams did in the Marlins, and the first year under the leadership of Barry Bonds and Don Mattingly is likely to end in a major letdown. Speed-demon Dee Gordon’s PED suspension didn’t help either. They will need some serious luck to overcome a five game deficit in the wildcard race.
17. Pittsburgh Pirates (74-75) – If you are to point the finger at anyone for the Pirates dropoff in 2016, it has to be Andrew McCutchen, who just hasn’t been himself compared to past three seasons in which the Pirates finished a wildcard team in all instances. The front office will also be regretting the decision to ship Francisco Liriano to the Blue Jays at the deadline. Even that however didn’t stop the Pirates from making some brief noise when they swept the Giants a few weeks back, but that quickly came to an end with a sweep by the Marlins and that series in which the Cardinals went yard four times in the ninth inning. And yet they remain 5 games out of the widlcard with a critical series against St. Louis on the horizon.
16. Kansas City Royals (76-73) – Our natural reaction to that nine game winning streak several weeks ago was that the Royals would do their thing and sneek right back into the postseason for a third straight year. Well it looks like we jumped the gun on that one. They’v now cooled off and are 5 games back of the wildcard, and they’d have to pass four teams in the process to even get there. So yes, it looks like we will have a brand new champion in 2016, even though you might be sick of even year magic for that team by the bay.
15. New York Yankees (77-72) – Despite being sellers, the Yankees found themselves 10 games over .500 last week with a serious chance to gain a wildcard birth or even win the AL East. Then they got swept by, you guessed it, the Red Sox. It was a painful one for the Yankees too, as the Sox came back to win in every game. Just like that, the Bronx Bombers have lost five straight and are likely going to miss the posteason barring some late September magic.
14. Houston Astros (78-71) – Don’t write off Houston just yet, as they are only three games back of the wildcard with 12 to play. They’ll need to take advantage of back to back series against the A’s and Angels before a could-be critical series agaisnt the Mariners. Otherwise they might just be playing spoiler as Seattle looks to get back to the postseason for the first time in forever.
13. St. Louis Cardinals (78-71) – The Cardinals were two outs away from going down 4 games to the Giants in the wildcard race, but they benefited from a struggling Giants’ bullpen and rallied to win two straight. They are now only one game back of that final spot heading to Colorado, and the Cards appear to be getting healthier with the return of players such as Matt Holliday looming. So do the Cards continue their October magic or fall short? They will have to face the Cubs and Pirates before the season ends.
12. Detroit Tigers (79-70) – Detroit fell seven games behind the Indians with a series loss to the Tribe this weekend, but they get the chance to make a serious run at the wildcard game as they play the Twins this week. The Tigers currently sit 2 games behind the Blue Jays, tied with the Seattle Mariners in an absolute frenzy for the final playoff spot.
11. San Francisco Giants (79-70) – The Giants have a very likely chance of becoming the first team in history to post the best record in the first half of the season and thew worst in the second. The Giants bullpen has now blown seven of their past 13 save opportunities, including losses that featured a three run two-out two-strike homer to San Diego last Tuesday and a blown save against St. Louis Saturday that cost the Giants at least a 3 game wildcard lead heading into the week. They now face a series against the Dodgers that, if it goes haywire, could put Even Year Magic in dire straits. San Francisco is 22-37 since the All-Star Break.
10. Seattle Mariners (79-70) – An eight game win streak last week was just what Seattle needed to put them right back in the wildcard hunt, now only two games behind the Blue Jays for one of those coveted positions to play in that do or die game. And who do the Mariners play this week? The Blue Jays, of course.
9. Toronto Blue Jays (81-68) – Toronto has the whole country of Canda cheering for them, and it appears as if they aren’t handling that pressure so well. The division lead is gone, and the Jays now sit 4 games behind the Red Sox with a fury of teams on their back for the final wildcard spot. The Jays will need to win a pivotal series against the Mariners this week to avoid falling back even more, possibly out of the wildcard spot entirely.
8. Baltimore Orioles (82-67) – The homers continue and so does Zach Britton’s dominance in Baltimore, which gives the O’s a three game padding for the top wildcard spot in the American League. To put things in perspective of just how efficient the O’s bullpen has been this season, Britton’s era of .60 is tied for the lowest qualifiying ERA in MLB history. Give the man a trophy.
7. Cleveland Indians (86-63) – The Indians now have a comfortable seven game lead after a series victory over the Tigers, and will likely clinch their first AL Central title in over seven years in the coming days. Yet the Tribe doesn’t seem to be that overpowering force that it was for so much of early Summer, and you have to wonder how that will translate into the postseason. Next up is a series against the Royals, who the Indians can eliminate from the division race with a series win.
6. New York Mets (80-69) – WHY IN THE WORLD ARE THE METS THIS HIGH DEAN?!?!? Well, that’s because they are BY FAR the hottest team in baseball right now. After sitting two games under .500 on August 19th, the Mets have gone 20-7 to overtake the Giants for the top wildcard spot, propelled by exceptional hitting from Curtis Granderson and Yoenis Cespedes. The most remarkable thing too is that the Mets have done this without the bulk of their starting pitching, with Jacob DeGrom now being ruled out for the season. That didn’t stop the Mets from sweeping the lowly Twins this weekend though. Their schedule is a cupcake too, as they now get to face the Braves and Phillies in a finish that will not see them play another .500 team this season. I don’t care who they play; expect the Mets to have A LOT of momentum entering the wildcard game, because they have the route made for them at this rate.
5. Washington Nationals (88-61) – They may have a comfortable lead in the NL East, but the loss of Stephen Strasburg is a blow, and it’s hard to see the Nationals going all the way with Gio Gonzalez as their No. 2 guy in the postseason. Of course, Dusty Baker is a managerial genius, but he has a history of coming up short. It also doesn’t help that the Nationals are slated to play the Dodgers in the NLDS, a team they went 1-6 against in the regular season.
4. Texas Rangers (88-61) – Like the Nationals, the Rangers also have a comfortable division lead and are days away from a clinch, but Texas looked vulnerable with an ugly series loss to the Athletics at home this weekend. It is remarkable how the Rangers keep finding a way to come back time after time to win ballgames, and Adrian Beltre has definitely made his case for the AL MVP award. Nonetheless, it’s hard to see this team sustaining the play from behind strategy forever, and if that doesn’t change, the Rangers could be in for some trouble come October.
3. Los Angeles Dodgers (84-65) – If we’re being honest, the Dodgers are the biggest darkhorse threat in the league to win the World Series as it stands. Since the All-Star Break, they have been the best hitting team in the National League. Corey Seager is putting up ridiculous numbers on offense, and will all but certainly win rookie of the year. Teeange phenom Juan Urias has been exceptional on the mound, and with Clayton Kershaw back, that rotation just got a lot scarier. And if the Dodgers win the NL West after being down 8.5 games to the Giants in June, Dave Roberts will give Joe Maddon a serious run for teh Manager of the year award. The Dodgers can clinch the NL West as soon as next weekend if they take care of the Giants at home this week.
2. Boston Red Sox (85-64) – The Red Sox are red hot. They swept the Yankees in comeback fashion every game this weekend and now have a three game lead in the AL East. Hanley Ramirez has 12 homers in his last 24 games, including a 2 out-three run walk off homer on Friday night. And David Ortiz is having one of the best curtain call seasons that we have ever seen. Next up is a critical series against the Orioles, and if the Sox can extend their win streak with a series win, they could be pulling away in the AL East before we know it.
1. Chicago Cubs (94-55) – The Cubs may only be 5-5 in their last 10 and have lost a series to the Brewers over the weekend, but they clinched the NL Central for the first time since 2008 last week as the result of a Giants victory over Cardinals. Barring a total meltdown, the Cubs are essentially locked for the top seed in the National League, and will likely face the Mets, Giants, or Cardinals in the first round. And let’s be honest; with last year, even year magic, and the Cardinals’ history of playoff success, those aren’t preferrable choices when it comes to postseason opponents. Nontheless, Cubs fans can’t complain with this season that will likely see their team eclipse 100 wins.
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