MLB Power Rankings: Dodgers, Cardinals, Pirates jump; A's fall

MLB Power Rankings: Dodgers, Cardinals, Pirates jump; A's fall

 

1. Los Angeles Angels (88-55, previous: 1) – The Angels have picked a good time to play their best ball of the season, especially with Oakland struggling, as they have won five straight and eight of 10 to open an eight-game lead in the AL West. Mike Trout is well on his way to an MVP season as his 102 RBIs lead all of the American League. Their plus-134 run differential is the second-best in the game, trailing just Oakland. Los Angeles has a series with the Rangers before returning home for a weekend set with Houston.

 

2. Baltimore Orioles (84-59, previous: 3) – Baltimore has quietly gone about its business, has built a 10-game lead in the AL East and is also now the second best team in all of baseball. Nelson Cruz has continued to have a monster of a year, as his 39 homers lead the AL and his 101 RBIs are tied for second. It isn’t much of a surprise to see these numbers, as Buck Showalter-led teams are known for relying on the long-ball. The Orioles will finish a series in Boston before returning home for a four-game set with the Yankees.

 

3. Los Angeles Dodgers (82-68, previous: 5) – The Dodgers are beginning to pull away from the Giants in the NL West as they have opened a 3.5 game lead, winners of four straight. At the top of their rotation, Clayton Kershaw has been dominant as he is the first pitcher in the league to 18 wins and is 15-1 since June 2 with an ERA of 1.67 during that span. Los Angeles has two home games with the Padres before departing for 10 straight games on the road.

 

4. Washington Nationals (81-61, previous: 4) – Now that the Nationals have all but secured the NL East, their attention is now on having the best record in the National League. They do have the best run differential in the NL at plus-107, with the next best team at plus-71. Doug Fister is in the midst of a good run as his 2.53 ERA is third in the National League. The Nationals will play two more games at home before a long 11-game road trip.

5. Oakland Athletics (80-63, previous: 2) – Things are not going well in Oakland as they are now eight games out of first in the AL West and since trading Yoenis Cespedes, they are 14-22. Not only has Oakland lost its AL West lead, it is now batting with Seattle and Detroit for the wild card spots. Even with the slump, Josh Donaldson still has the best WAR in the game at 7.0. Oakland will continue its seven-game road trip with games against the White Sox and Mariners.

6. St. Louis Cardinals (80-64, previous: 9) – The Cardinals are one of the hottest teams in the game as they have won nine of their last 10 games and have opened a 4.5 game lead in the NL Central. Adam Wainwright has continued to put up solid numbers this year, as he has 17 wins and a 2.62 ERA, fifth in the National League. St. Louis will play three more games in Cincinnati before nine straight games at home.

7. Kansas City Royals (79-63, previous: 7) – Kansas City and Detroit continue to go back-and-forth in the AL Central with the Royals holding one game lead at the moment. Going rather unnoticed this season has been Alex Gordon as his 5.9 WAR is fifth in the AL. The Royals have two more huge games with the Tigers before opening a 10-game homestand, which could go a long way in the AL Central race.

8. Detroit Tigers (79-65, previous: 6) – The Tigers trail the Royals by one game in the AL Central and it may be the case that whichever team doesn’t win the AL Central might be out of the playoff race altogether, as the two wild card teams could come from the AL West. Victor Martinez, the reigning August AL Player of the Month, has raised his average to .337, second in the AL. After two big games with the Royals, Detroit has a weekend series at home against the Indians.

9. Seattle Mariners (79-64, previous: 10) – Seattle has won seven of its last 10 games and although it trails the Angels by nine games in the NL West, the M's are only a game behind the A's. As it stands now both the Mariners and A’s would make the postseason and play each other in the AL wild card game. Closer Fernando Rodney leads all of baseball with 44 saves. The Mariners have two games with Houston before three games over the weekend against Oakland.

10. San Francisco Giants (78-65, previous: 8) – Even with the Giants winning seven of their last 10 games, they are still 3.5 games out of first in the NL West. Even if they cannot catch the Dodgers, it appears they would be one of the two NL wild card teams. Buster Posey’s tear of late as gotten him into the top five in average in the NL as he is hitting .309. San Francisco has three games against the Diamondbacks before a weekend set against the division-leading Dodgers.

11. Pittsburgh Pirates (75-68, previous: 13) – The Pirates refuse to go down without a fight. Winners of four straight, they trail the division leading Cardinals by 4.5 games, but currently have the second NL wild card spot. In their last four games, their offense has caught fire as they have averaged 6.5 runs per game. Pittsburgh has three more games against the Phillies before they open a nine-game homestand.

12. Cleveland Indians (74-68, previous: 15) – Cleveland is an impressive 43-29 at home, but is just 31-39 on the road and will in all likelihood miss the postseason. It will be interesting to see how their roster plays out this offseason and who returns.

13. Toronto Blue Jays (74-69, previous: 16) – Toronto has won seven of its last 10 games to at least give itself a chance at the wild card -- although they will need to stay this hot for the remainder of the season. Currently, they are five games out, but have four teams ahead of them in the standings. Toronto did take a big hit when it was learned last week that Melky Cabrera would miss the rest of the season due to a broken finger.

14. Atlanta Braves (74-70, previous: 12) – With the NL East pretty much wrapped up with the Nationals taking the division, the Braves have their eyes set on the wild card. As it stands now they would be out, but are just 1.5 games out of the final spot. They will need Jason Heyward to continue to build on his impressive season as his 6.3 WAR is second in the National League. Atlanta will finish its series with Washington before three games over the weekend in Texas against the Rangers.

15. Milwaukee Brewers (74-70, previous: 11) – Milwaukee has picked a bad time to lose nine of its last 10 and 12 of its last 13 as it is now in third place in the NL Central after leading the division for much of the year. The Brewers are also 1.5 games out of the NL wild card race, so if the postseason began today they would be out of the picture. The Brewers will look to turn things around quickly with home games against the Marlins and Reds.

16. New York Yankees (73-68, previous: 14) – With the Orioles holding a firm grasp on the AL East, New York’s only chance at making the playoffs is the wild card. Currently, the Yanks are five games out and will need to go on a tear in the final month of the year to somehow sneak in. Although they’re in the playoff race, much of the focus will be on Derek Jeter as he plays in the final games of his historic career. The Yankees open a three-game set with the Rays before going on the road for seven straight.

17. Miami Marlins (70-72, previous: 17) – After giving fans some hope at making the postseason, it appears those hopes are gone as at this point the Marlins are 4.5 games out of the final wild card, but have two teams ahead of them. Giancarlo Stanton still remains one of the most exciting players in the game as his 37 homers and 105 RBIs lead the NL.

18. New York Mets (69-75, previous: 21) – Out of the playoff picture, the Mets have played well of late winning seven of their last 10 games. Lucas Duda has been a bright spot as his 27 homers are good for third in the National League. The Mets will look to impact the playoff picture as they have 13 games against the Braves and Nationals down the stretch.

19. Tampa Bay Rays (69-75, previous: 18) – After losing to the Red Sox in the divisional round of the playoffs last year, the Rays had high hopes for 2014, but injuries early on didn’t help the cause as they are now 15.5 games out of first in the AL East. With David Price gone they will now be searching for a new ace for 2015 and beyond.

20. Cincinnati Reds (67-77, previous: 19) – The Reds started to play some good ball after the All-Star break, but have gone downhill of late to now have no chance at all of making the postseason. Losers of eight of their last 10, the Reds still have Johnny Cueto who has a 2.23 ERA, second in the NL. Cincinnati could be receiving plenty of trade calls for Cueto this offseason.

21. San Diego Padres (66-77, previous: 20) – San Diego has lost six straight games as its offense continues to struggle this season. They have scored a total of 459 runs this season with the next lowest in the NL being the Diamondbacks at 546.

22. Philadelphia Phillies (66-77, previous: 22) – Philadelphia currently sits 15.5 games out of first in the NL East with a minus-56 run differential, by far the worst in the division. Ryan Howard and Marlon Byrd have stood out offensively as Howard's 92 RBIs are third in the NL and Byrd’s 25 homers are fifth.

23. Chicago White Sox (64-79, previous: 24) – With the White Sox’ struggles, rookie Jose Abreu’s season should not be overlooked as his .317 average is fifth in the AL, his 33 homers are third in the league and his 99 RBIs are fourth – pretty impressive for a 27-year-old playing his first season in America.

24. Chicago Cubs (64-80, previous: 23) – After winning three straight games, the Cubs have now lost four straight and have been shutout in three of their last four games. The Cubs will impact the playoff race down the stretch with series’ against the Dodgers, Cardinals and Brewers.

25. Boston Red Sox (63-81, previous: 25) – Although they are still losing games, the Red Sox continue to get a good look at their younger players, which will only help them come 2015 and the upcoming offseason when deciding who to trade and who to keep. Cuban star Rusney Castillo could be making his big league debut sometime next week.

26. Houston Astros (63-81, previous: 27) – You would never know the Astros are 25.5 games out of first place in the AL West as they have won seven of their last 10 games. Jose Altuve will be battling with Victor Martinez for the AL batting title as currently Altuve, at .338, leads by one percentage point.

27. Minnesota Twins (61-82, previous: 26) – Losers of four straight and eight of their last 10, the Twins are desperately waiting for the season to end as they look to turn things around in 2015. One of the few bright spots has been closer Glen Perkins as his 33 saves are tied for fourth in the AL.

28. Arizona Diamondbacks (59-84, previous: 28) – Arizona has a minus-101 differential this season, which is the worst in the National League. The Diamondbacks will look to get a healthy Paul Goldschmidt back for 2015 as he recovers from a broken wrist.

29. Colorado Rockies (59-85, previous: 29) – Colorado has scored an impressive 665 runs this year, the most in the NL, but has also allowed 740 runs, also the most in the NL.

30. Texas Rangers (54-89, previous: 30) – The biggest news for the Rangers this past week came when manager Ron Washington resigned due a personal matter.

*All stats and records are as of Tuesday, Sept. 9.

Follow Metro sports writer Ryan Hannable on Twitter: @RyanHannable

 
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