MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A’s still at top, Nationals climb
1. Los Angeles Angels (77-53, previous: 1) – Not only are the Angels and Athletics tied for the AL West lead, they are also tied for the best record in all of baseball. Despite having a fastball in the high 80s, Jered Weaver’s 14 wins are tied for second in the AL. The Angels’ offense has scored 606 runs on the year, the second most in the AL, but the team did suffer a huge blow this past week when Garrett Richards suffered a season-ending knee injury. Los Angeles is in the midst of a seven-game homestand, which includes a huge weekend series against the A’s.
2. Oakland Athletics (77-53, previous: 2) – It’s pretty much 1A and 1B here as Oakland is tied with the Angels for the best record in baseball. The A’s have dropped six of their last 10 games, but are starting to get their offense back on track as they have scored four or more runs in five of their last six games. Josh Donaldson now has the best WAR in all of baseball at 6.6. Oakland has two more games in Houston before a critical four-game weekend series against the Angels.
3. Washington Nationals (75-55, previous: 4) – Washington finally fell on Monday night after winning 13 of its last 14 games. The Nats’ 75 wins are the most in the National League as they lead the NL East by 7.5 games. The remarkable thing about the Nats is that they don’t have one standout performer – it truly has been a team effort in their recent run. They will continue their series against the Phillies before going out West to take on the Mariners and Dodgers.
4. Baltimore Orioles (74-55, previous: 3) – The Orioles continue to run away from the rest of the AL East as they are six games up on the Yankees. While the O’s are best known for their offense, starter Chris Tillman is having a solid season as he has a 11-5 record with a 3.41 ERA. They do have a depth issue on their pitching staff, however. Baltimore will finish its series with the Rays before a weekend set with the Twins.
5. Los Angeles Dodgers (74-58, previous: 6) – Los Angeles is in good shape in the NL West as it leads the division by 4.5 games. Yasiel Puig is getting it done at the plate, as his .305 average is fifth in the NL. The Dodgers will be a tough out in the postseason with the stars they have on their pitching staff. They have a good chance to extended their lead even more in the division by taking on the Padres and Diamondbacks this week.
6. Milwaukee Brewers (73-58, previous: 5) – Milwaukee has won seven of its last 10 games to open up a 1.5 game lead in the NL Central. Aramis Ramirez is having a career year at the plate, as his .307 batting average is fourth in the National League. The Brewers are in the middle of a tough stretch as they have nine straight games on the road with the Padres, Giants and Cubs on deck.
7. Kansas City Royals (72-58, previous: 7) – Even having dropped two straight games, the Royals still lead the AL Central by 1.5 games. Perhaps one of the more underrated players in the league is outfielder Alex Gordon, as he has a 5.5 WAR, which is fourth in the American League. Kansas City will return home for games against the Twins and Reds as it looks to extend its division lead.
8. Seattle Mariners (71-59, previous: 8) – Though the Mariners are six games out in the AL West, they have as good a chance as any at the wild card. Pitching has led the way for the Mariners as Felix Hernandez’s 2.07 ERA is second in the AL and Fernando Rodney’s 38 saves is also second. The Mariners have six games at home coming up with the Rangers and Nationals heading to the Pacific Northwest.
9. St. Louis Cardinals (71-59, previous: 9) – With the Brewers and Cards in one of the most competitive division races in the game, it’s likely the team that doesn’t take home the division title will win the wild card. The young St. Louis bullpen is shining again as Trevor Rosenthal has 39 saves, tied for first in the NL. St. Louis has a big chance to extend its lead and make a run at Milwaukee with four games against the Cubs this week.
10. Detroit Tigers (70-59, previous: 10) – If the playoffs began today, the Tigers would be on the outside looking in as they trail the Royals in the AL Central and are one game out in the wild card. Miguel Cabrera is pacing the Tigers offense as his 89 RBIs are fourth in the American League. Detroit will host the Yankees before a weekend series in Chicago, taking on the White Sox.
11. New York Yankees (68-61, previous: 15) – The Yankees refuse to go away in the playoff picture as they have won five games in a row and seven of their last 10. New York is just three games out in the wild card as they enter the final month of the year. Replacing Mariano Rivera has gone better than expected as David Robertson has 34 saves, third in the American League. New York will play all six games the rest of the week on the road, taking on the Tigers and Blue Jays.
12. San Francisco Giants (68-62, previous: 11) – San Francisco has fallen off of late as it has lost three straight games and is now five games out in the NL West. The Giants currently do hold the second wild card spot, but will need to get things going in a hurry as there are plenty of teams on their heels. Tim Hudson and Madison Bumgarner are leading their rotation with 2.99 and 3.17 ERAs, respectively. The Giants are in the midst of a seven-game homestand with games against the Rockies and Brewers.
13. Pittsburgh Pirates (67-64, previous: 14) – Pittsburgh is another team slumping at a bad time, as the Pirates have dropped seven of their last 10 games and now are 1.5 games out of the final NL wild card spot. The Pirates do have the experience of reaching the postseason last year, which could help them in the last month of the season. Six games at home await the Pirates this week — all in their division, with the Cardinals and Reds.
14. Toronto Blue Jays (66-65, previous: 13) – Toronto has lost seven of its last 10 games to fall nearly out of the AL playoff race. At 5.5 games out of the wild card, time is running out and running out quickly. The offense that was there at the beginning of the season hasn’t continued as Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion’s power numbers have gone down. The Blue Jays will wrap up a series with the Red Sox before a weekend series in New York with the Yankees.
15. Cleveland Indians (66-63, previous: 16) – Cleveland has won two straight games and is hanging on by a thread in the playoff race, as it is five games out of a wild card spot. Michael Brantley is leading the offense this season with a .311 average, fifth in the AL. The Indians have six straight games on the road ahead as they will take on the White Sox and Royals.
16. Atlanta Braves (65-60, previous: 12) – The Braves won seven of their last eight games before dropping two straight to the Reds and are now pretty much out of the NL East race. Atlanta does have a shot at the wild card as it is just a half game back of the final spot, but a handful of teams are fast approaching. The Braves will play three games in New York against the Mets before a weekend series with the Marlins.
17. Miami Marlins (65-65, previous: 17) – Miami is three games out of the NL wild card, but with the teams in front of them, they need to make a charge soon. Giancarlo Stanton made some headlines this week saying, “Five months doesn’t change five years,” referring to the number of losing seasons he’s dealt with in Miami. It will be interesting to see what happens this offseason as a trade out of South Florida is possible.
18. Tampa Bay Rays (64-67, previous: 19) – Tampa Bay has a plus 16-run differential on the year, but is still 11 games out of first place in the AL East. It has been a frustrating season to say the least for the Rays, especially with all the injuries they have been forced to deal with.
19. Cincinnati Reds (63-68, previous: 18) – Cincinnati trudged through a seven-game losing streak last week. The Reds offense was the issue as they couldn’t score – scoring three runs or less in four of five games. The Reds play the Cubs at home before a weekend series on the road against the Pirates.
20. New York Mets (61-70, previous: 21) – The Mets certainly are out of the NL East race, but things have gotten a little interesting as starter Bartolo Colon has cleared waivers so now he can be traded to any team in the league — if the Mets can find a match. Colon could give a contender a boost with the postseason fast approaching.
21. San Diego Padres (60-70, previous: 22) – The Padres have fallen off the map, losers of seven of their last 10 games. They are 13 games out of first. As has been the case all season, scoring runs has been the issue as their 429 runs are the fewest in the National League.
22. Chicago White Sox (59-71, previous: 20) – Things have not gotten any better for the White Sox has they have dropped six straight and are 13 games out in the AL Central. Rookie Jose Abreu does lead the AL in RBIs with 94 and is second in homers with 33.
23. Philadelphia Phillies (59-72, previous: 24) – At 16.5 games out of first in the NL East, it has been a disappointing season for the Phillies. They will have a number of decisions to make this offseason, especially with their pitching as they will be getting plenty of calls on players like Cole Hamels and even Jonathan Papelbon, who has expressed that he wants out.
24. Minnesota Twins (58-72, previous: 25) – Even with the Twins’ poor season, it shows how good Phil Hughes has been, as his 14 wins are tied for second in the American League.
25. Chicago Cubs (58-72, previous: 26) – Chicago has won three straight games, but at 14.5 games out of first place in the NL Central it is a case of too little, too late. You have to wonder how much longer it will be before general manager Theo Epstein starts taking some heat.
26. Boston Red Sox (57-74, previous: 23) – This season isn’t as bad as the 2012 season, but it isn’t much better as the Red Sox have lost eight of their last 10 games and are finding different ways to lose each night. Lately it has been Koji Uehara struggling after being nearly unhittable last year. The Red Sox will finish their series in Toronto before a weekend series on the road against the Rays.
27. Arizona Diamondbacks (55-76, previous: 27) – The Diamondbacks’ minus-97 run differential is the worst in the National League, leaving them 18.5 games out of first place and 13 games below .500 at home.
28. Houston Astros (55-77, previous: 28) – Even where they are in the standings, Chris Carter has put on a show at the plate of late as since July 1 he has belted 18 homers, the most in the majors.
29. Colorado Rockies (53-77, previous: 29) – The Rockies are actually playing good baseball as they have won three straight and seven of their last 10 games.
30. Texas Rangers (51-79, previous: 30) – It shows you just how bad of a year the Rangers have had as even with a two-game win streak, they still have the worst record in baseball.
*All stats and records are as of Tuesday, Aug. 25.
Follow Metro sports writer Ryan Hannable on Twitter: @RyanHannable