23 Weeks In: MLB: Power Rankings, Matchups, Highlights and more
I’m back!! After a quick ten-day trip around Norway and Denmark, I’ve returned to what I can only assume is a stagnant state of affairs in Major League Baseball. Surely, the Boston Red Sox have increased their gap over the rest of baseball, further proving that no team will be able to touch them in the post-season.
Wait, what…? The Sox have lost six out of their last ten? They just got swept by the Tampa Bay Rays? Nathan Eovaldi kind of sucks and Chris Sale may actually be hurt? What’s happening?! Nothing makes sense anymore!!
Alright, everyone relax. There’s no need to panic. Despite Boston’s struggles and the New York Yankees recent 8-2 streak, the Red Sox still maintain a six-game lead over the AL East and an even larger gap over the rest of baseball. The Rays are making a late run, but likely won’t have time to score a wild card spot barring a monumental collapse by the Oakland A’s. The A’s still have a shot at winning the division and relegating the Houston Astros to a wild card game against the Yankees. And the National League is as tight as ever with eight teams in the hunt for a post-season bid and only five bids to go around. In fact, there are eight teams with a statistical chance at a wild card bid and only two wild card bids to go around.
It’s going to be a wild September baseball fans. Let’s get into it.
Top Three Plays
Unbelievable Year for Verlander
Reminiscent of The Sandlot
Not A Play but Laughably Ghetto
What To Watch:
The tightest and most compelling race in baseball is housed in the American League West. The defending World Series champion and the lovable underdog go head-to-head for the division title as the Houston Astros and Oakland Athletics are only separated by 1.5 games as of August 27th. And as if it was scripted, the two ballclubs square off in a three-game series today, tomorrow, and Wednesday.
Now you may be thinking this doesn’t matter. Both the Astros and the A’s are probably going to make the post-season, so who cares who wins the division and who earns a wild card bid. Well despite a one-game playoff always being a risky proposition, the fact that the New York Yankees are the likely opponent creates for a terrifying reality.
The Yankees have been playing exceptionally well this year. While it’s easy to do a quick sweep of the standings and thing they’ve fallen-short of expectations, the Yanks have consistently been the most dominant team in baseball, second only to the Boston Red Sox. And if I’m being completely honest with myself… they may even be better than the Sox on any given day.
So if you’re the other wild card team and you need to beat the New York Yankees – or possibly the Boston Red Sox depending how this month goes – you’re probably not too happy with your position. And the best way to improve your odds is to not be in that position at all. Translation: win the NL West.
Tonight’s matchup between Brett Anderson and Gerrit Cole is probably the best of the series, but every one of these games is crucial. This is the last time these teams will meet in the regular season and the momentum could carry them to a successful – or unsuccessful – September. It all starts this week in Houston.
Boston Red Sox (90-42) ---
New York Yankees (83-47) ---
Houston Astros (80-50) ---
Oakland Athletics (79-52) ---
Chicago Cubs (76-53) ---
Cleveland Indians (74-56) +1
Seattle Mariners (74-57) - 1
Atlanta Braves (73-57) ---
Arizona Diamondbacks (72-58) +2
St. Louis Cardinals (73-58) +4
Milwaukee Brewers (73-59) - 1
Colorado Rockies (71-59) +1
Philadelphia Phillies (70-60) - 4
Los Angeles Dodgers (70-61) - 2
Tampa Bay Rays (70-61) +2
Washington Nationals (65-66) ---
San Francisco Giants (65-67) +1
Pittsburgh Pirates (64-67) - 3
Los Angeles Angels (63-68) ---
Minnesota Twins (61-69) ---
Toronto Blue Jays (60-70) ---
New York Mets (58-72) +3
Texas Rangers (58-74) ---
Cincinnati Reds (56-75) - 2
Detroit Tigers (53-78) - 1
Miami Marlins (53-79) ---
Chicago White Sox (51-79) +1
San Diego Padres (50-83) - 1
Kansas City Royals (40-91) ---
Baltimore Orioles (37-94) ---
**No team can move more than 4 spots from week-to-week.