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MLB Power Rankings

Rank   Team Record   Change   Comment
1 Chicago Cubs Chicago Cubs 94-55
It was a ho-hum week for the Cubbies, as they backed into the National League Central Division title by losing three of four to Milwaukee at home. Staff ace Jake Arrieta’s ERA is more than a run higher this year than it was last year. Keep an eye on him come October.
2 Boston Red Sox Boston Red Sox 85-64
A four-game sweep of the hated Yankees at Fenway Park over the weekend all but eliminated New York from the postseason. That has to make even the most self-loathing Boston fan happier than a clam. The three-game lead in the American League East Division now is almost incidental.
3 Washington Nationals Washington Nationals 88-61
▲ 1
Like Chicago above, the Nats also had trouble with a bad team last week, losing two of three to Atlanta. The NL East Division title is close to a formality now, though, as Washington leads by eight games with just 13 left to play. September really can be a grind for even the best of teams.
4 Cleveland Indians Cleveland Indians 86-63
▲ 1
Even the Tribe lost three of four to the White Sox last week. Up seven games with 13 to go, Cleveland too can be forgiven for its complacency. The really bad news was the loss of Carlos Carrasco for the rest of the year, however. That’s going to hurt the October chances of the biggest AL sentimental favorite.
5 Toronto Blue Jays Toronto Blue Jays 81-68
▼ 2
With just five wins this September, the Blue Jays now are clinging to the final playoff spot in the AL. They lead the Mariners by just two games for that coveted postseason berth. September is a bad time to pick for a team’s first losing month of the year, but that’s exactly what is happening in Toronto right now.
6 Seattle Mariners Seattle Mariners 79-70
▲ 2
Speaking of Seattle, the team had an eight-game winning streak snapped on Friday even though King Felix was on the mound at home. In three games combined last week, the Ms scored 23 runs; in the other three, they scored three runs. Seattle will go as far as its bats can take it, and October is within the team’s grasp for the first time since 2001.
7 Baltimore Orioles Baltimore Orioles 82-67
▼ 1
With a one-game edge over the Blue Jays for the top wild-card spot, the Orioles still are chasing the postseason. We admit we never thought Baltimore would last this long, with that rotation. O’s starters are 52-54 this year with a 4.85 ERA, making you wonder just how this team expects to survive in October.
8 Houston Astros Houston Astros 78-71
▼ 1
Three games behind Toronto for that final postseason slot, the Astros really need to turn on the jets this week with three games in Oakland and then four back in Houston against the Los Angeles Angels. It’s now or never for the AL team with so much amazing young talent on it. Just four wins in 19 games against in-state, division rival Texas is what has damaged the ‘Stros this season.
9 Los Angeles Dodgers Los Angeles Dodgers 84-65
▲ 1
They just finished a 10-game road trip with a 5-5 record, which actually increased their NL West Division lead by a game. The Dodgers’ magic number is now nine, and they get seven games at home this week to reach that number long before the final three games of the season in San Francisco. That’s L.A.’s goal, for sure.
10 St. Louis Cardinals St. Louis Cardinals 78-71
▲ 1
The Cards salvaged a near-disastrous week with two wins in San Francisco on Saturday and Sunday, as they now are out of the NL playoff picture for the moment. St. Louis trails both New York and San Francisco for the wild-card spots. Power outages (just 15 runs in seven games last week) can be devastating in MLB.
11 Texas Rangers Texas Rangers 88-62
▼ 2
Yes, we’ve been unimpressed with the Rangers all season, despite the fact they have the best record in the AL. Any team that outplays its Pythagorean projection by 12 games is suspect in our book. Want another reason for the glass stilts? The bullpen is 37-19 this year, despite having the worst ERA (4.76) in the league. How is that even possible?
12 New York Mets New York Mets 80-69
▲ 4
This is an underhyped story right now. The Mets are 11-5 in September already, and they now lead the NL Wild Card race. Remember, their final 13 games are against teams under .500 right now, so the patchwork rotation should be able to get N.Y. into the playoffs. The big question is this: Who will actually be left standing to pitch for them in that wild-card game?
13 Detroit Tigers Detroit Tigers 79-70
Tied with Seattle two games behind Toronto, this Detroit team is still very much in contention for the postseason. But splitting four games at home against Minnesota last week was a wasted opportunity. Nine of the Tigers’ final 13 games are against teams playing out the string, so there’s a chance here still for salvation in Motown.
14 New York Yankees New York Yankees 77-72
▼ 2
Well, it was fun while it lasted, but we can stick a fork in the Yankees now. Thursday, they blew a 5-1 lead in the eighth at Fenway to lose. Saturday, they blew an early 5-2 lead to lose again to Boston. Last night, they blew a 4-0 lead to lose a fourth straight game to the Red Sox. Four games out of the second wild-card slot, New York’s final 10 games are against teams currently in playoff spots.
15 San Francisco Giants San Francisco Giants 79-70
▼ 1
The Giants reverted to their losing ways last week, getting swept at home by San Diego before splitting with St. Louis in the worst way possible. S.F.’s bullpen blew its NL-worst 28th save on Saturday, this one in the ninth inning, and then the Giants got shutout on Sunday. In three postseason runs this decade to World Series glory, the bullpen went a combined 13-2 with a 2.42 ERA, including a 7-1 mark and a 2.11 ERA in 2014. Those days are long gone by the Bay.
16 Kansas City Royals Kansas City Royals 76-73
▼ 1
The defending champions got shafted by some payback this week, dropping four games straight at home to Oakland as revenge for the 2014 AL Wild Card Game. The lackluster A’s outscored their gracious hosts, 43-12, in those four games. Massacre? Oh yeah. Last week, we said the Royals had to use the schedule as a springboard. Didn’t happen. The King is dead; long live the King!
17 Pittsburgh Pirates Pittsburgh Pirates 74-75
▲ 1
The Steelers beat the Bengals on Saturday by a 17-7 score. Wait, wrong sport! Actually, it was the Pirates sweeping a doubleheader from the Reds by that combined score on Saturday. Since we love doubleheaders, that was the highlight of the week for Pittsburgh (until Sunday’s actual win for the Steelers over the Bengals, of course).
18 Miami Marlins Miami Marlins 74-75
▼ 1
Consider that Dee Gordon missed 80 games due to a PED suspension. Consider that Giancarlo Stanton missed a month down the stretch with injuries. Consider all the setbacks the Miami Marlins faced in 2016. Just how does this team still have a chance to finish above .500? We think Don Mattingly is a pretty good manager, basically.
19 Colorado Rockies Colorado Rockies 72-77
On Saturday at Coors Field, Colorado starter Jon Gray threw a complete-game, four-hit shutout against San Diego, while walking no batters and striking out a club-record 16 of them. The Rockies won, 8-0. Think about that pitching performance for a moment and then ponder if you’ll ever see anything like it against at that stadium.
20 Chicago White Sox Chicago White Sox 72-77
The Pale Hose could pull off a unique achievement this year if they keep winning a little bit more in September. Chicago could bookend winning months around four losing months in the middle of the season. While the Cubbies have the Windy City’s attention, the White Sox are just … there. No one likes to be second fiddle in a two-team town.
21 Milwaukee Brewers Milwaukee Brewers 68-82
Break up the Brewers! Milwaukee is 11-6 in September, and the team just took three of four at Wrigley Field from the Cubs. Where was this team all year? Heck, the Brew Crew just posted a 10-20 record in August. Maybe the September roster expansion was just what they needed to get better.
22 Philadelphia Phillies Philadelphia Phillies 67-83
▲ 1
Starter Jeremy Hellickson has resurrected his career this year in the City of Brotherly Love with a 12-9 record and a 3.57 ERA. The 2011 AL Rookie of the Year had been mediocre (at best) since 2013, but now he could be one of the most highly sought-after free-agent pitchers on the market this winter. Let the bidding begin!
23 Oakland Athletics Oakland Athletics 66-83
▲ 1
The A’s came within a(nother) ninth-inning blown save of a perfect week, no thanks to closer Ryan Madson and those pesky Rangers on Friday night. Oakland has lost 22 games (!) this year it was leading in the seventh inning or later. The payback in Kansas City was still hollow, we assume, for what remains of Oakland’s professional baseball fan base. With the Raiders and the Warriors leaving town soon, maybe the A’s should go as well. What do you say, Commissioner?
24 Los Angeles Angels Los Angeles Angels 65-84
▼ 2
A 6-10 September has dropped the Halos back into last place in the AL West, but with the NFL back in Los Angeles this weekend, has anyone noticed? Mike Trout leads all MLB hitters with 9.8 Wins-Above-Replacement value, but once again, he won’t win the MVP. He may be the best player to be stuck on a perennial loser since Ernie Banks, really.
25 Tampa Bay Rays Tampa Bay Rays 64-85
Winning four games last week on the road against the Blue Jays and the Orioles is about as good as it got for the Rays in 2016. That AL-worst batting average (.245), though, tells us Tampa Bay will have a new hitting coach in 2017.
26 Cincinnati Reds Cincinnati Reds 63-86
The Reds followed up a five-game winning streak with a four-game losing streak before beating the Pirates on Sunday. That probably was of little consolation to the city of Cincinnati, though, after the Bengals lost to the Steelers (again).
27 Arizona Diamondbacks Arizona Diamondbacks 63-86
▲ 1
Conversely, Arizona followed up a six-game losing streak with a four-game winning streak. We think the Diamondbacks are a sleeping giant in the MLB landscape. Phoenix is about the same size as the San Francisco Bay Area, and the club has the region all to itself. All it needs is some luck now like the Giants had in 2010, and the Diamondbacks could be another financial monster in the NL West.
28 San Diego Padres San Diego Padres 62-87
▼ 1
After sweeping the Giants at AT&T Park, the Padres went to Colorado and got swept by the Rockies at Coors Field. San Diego isn’t as big of a market as Phoenix, of course, but there’s just something about the pro sports scene in Southern California these days that just screams “lack of urgency”. Maybe the NFL’s return can change that? After all, the Padres will have San Diego all to themselves very soon.
29 Atlanta Braves Atlanta Braves 58-91
As noted near the top of this list, the Braves just beat the Nationals twice at home in three games. That still left Atlanta with a 4-15 mark this year against Washington. Alas, the North (still?) beats the South when it comes to NL East baseball.
30 Minnesota Twins Minnesota Twins 55-95
The Twinkies just did the obligatory roll-over maneuver for the Mets, and now they have the chance to do the same for the Tigers and the Mariners this week. Will they? If nothing else, Minnesota sports fans do have that shiny new football stadium to smile about. How about those Vikings?

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