MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Wild card races keep getting more interesting with Yankees, Reds, others threatening

Several weeks back, I lamented how it was starting to look like we might not have too many great races. There has been movement in the realm of the wild card that has freed up additional spots for contending teams, though. 

In the AL, I discussed how it looked like the top wild card spot would almost certainly come from whatever team didn’t win the AL East between the Rays and Red Sox. I did like the second wild card spot to be up for grabs, though. Only now it looks like both. This is because …

  • The Red Sox lost 10 of 13 before this past weekend. 
  • The A’s have won eight of 10. 
  • The Blue Jays have won 13 of their last 18. 
  • The Yankees have won 14 of 19. 

With the Red Sox coming back and the other three teams on the rise, we know have an incredibly fun situation. 

The A’s and Red Sox are virtually tied for both wild card spots right now, with the Yankees 2 1/2 games out and the Blue Jays 4 1/2 games out with their remaining schedule being mostly bad teams or those in the mix here. The Mariners are lingering at 5 1/2 out right now, too. 

Let’s keep in mind, too, that this fracas could also involve the Astros, who are only 2 1/2 games up on the A’s, and the Rays, who are only three up on the Red Sox. Aside from the already-decided Central, the AL races could be all kinds of fun. 

On the NL side, the wild cards a few weeks ago just looked like whoever finishes second and third among the NL West titans. Instead, the Padres had an 11-14 July and just lost four in a row before salvaging Sunday against the lowly Diamondbacks. The Reds have won 13 of their last 19 and now sit just 2 1/2 games back. Oh, and the Cardinals have won eight of their last nine and have crawled to 4 1/2 out. 

With a furious few weeks of some teams struggling with others surging, it now looks like only the two Central division titles won’t be exciting. Let’s buckle up. 

Biggest Movers

Rk

Teams

 

Chg

Rcrd


1


Giants

Remember when they somehow lost two home games to the Pirates? The Giants are 15-5 since then. Even with small bumps, overall they just do not slow down. 76-42

2


Dodgers

The news on Mookie Betts is pretty worrisome. It seems like he might not be himself the rest of the way, even if he’s able to play. 72-46

3


Astros

Seven of their next 10 games are against the Royals. Time to force the A’s to stay hot and keep up? 1 70-47

4


Brewers

I’m gonna guess Brewers fans were pretty elated to get a four-game sweep in Wrigley Field, outscoring the hapless Cubs 27-4 in the final two games. 1 72-47

5


Rays

Mike Zunino is on a heater. He’s riding an eight-game hitting streak, during which he’s hit .407. He’s also homered in four straight games. 2 71-47

6


Athletics

Very tough stretch coming up. The A’s have four games in Chicago against the White Sox before coming home to face the Giants. After that it’s the Mariners and Yankees. Now see the Astros comment above. Possibly pivotal moment in the AL West. 2 68-50

7


Red Sox

Was the three-game sweep over the Orioles the thing the Red Sox needed to get right? We’ll find out quickly. They have a three-game series against the Yankees to start the new week. 3 69-51

8


Yankees

They might be getting right on offense? Maybe? And Gerrit Cole is back Monday. 3 65-52

9


White Sox

The Tim Anderson walk-off homer in the Field of Dreams game will end up being possibly the best highlight during the regular season this year. What a rousing success that game was. 3 68-50

10


Blue Jays

The Jays now have five players with at least 20 homers, leading the majors (the Braves are tied). George Springer has 16 in 49 games, too. This is quite the deeply loaded power machine. 1 63-54

11


Padres

Hey, they are 1-0 since Fernando Tatis, Jr. returned? He even had two homers and a double to show that’s he’s good to go. Let’s hope for baseball’s sake he can finish the season. 4 67-53

12


Mariners

Jarred Kelenic is making strides. Before Sunday’s 0 for 3, he was hitting .258/.338/.516 in his last 17 games. The line for the season will end up ugly due to that wretched start, but progress is all that matters now. 3 63-56

13


Braves

And here they come. The Braves have won 10 of their last 12 to take control of the NL East. 1 62-56

14


Reds

It’s remarkable they are in this position with Sonny Gray posting such a mediocre season and Luis Castillo melting down as often as he has. A tip of the cap to Tyler Mahle, Wade Miley and Vladimir Gutierrez. 2 64-55

15


Phillies

Rough week after the eight-game winning streak, but they are right there and have a pretty weak schedule the rest of the way. 2 61-57

16


Cardinals

Getting Jack Flaherty back in the rotation is a huge shot in the arm. It seems unlikely they can make a playoff run, but I’m old enough to remember 2011. Yeah, it’s all different players (including Adam Wainwright, because he was hurt that year), but I’m not counting them out. 3 61-56

17


Mets

The good news is that after this 13-game stretch against the Dodgers and Giants, they have 14 against the Nationals and Marlins. The bad news is they might be buried by then. 1 59-58

18


Angels

It’s going to be interesting to see the arguments made against and in favor of Shohei Ohtani winning MVP with the Angels playing the last six weeks as a non-contending team. I’m always open to listening. 1 59-60

19


Indians

Triston McKenzie’s numbers are bad overall, but he’s been better of late and has shown some flashes, notably taking a perfect game into the eighth on Sunday. Never doubt the Cleveland pitching infrastructure. 1 57-59

20


Tigers

Hey, Spencer Torkelson has been promoted to Triple-A. Did you see that he went 7 for 7 with three homers in a doubleheader last week? Fun stuff. 58-62

21


Twins

Maybe they like playing spoiler? How about this run against playoff contenders? They split two games with the Reds, took three of four from the Astros, two of three from the White Sox and two of three from the Rays. 4 52-66

22


Rockies

Yes, I’m still tracking the divide because it’s the most jaw-dropping one of all-time. The Rockies are now 38-21 at home, so they play like a 104-win team there. They are now 14-45 on the road, meaning they play like a 124-loss team away from Coors. 1 52-66

23


Marlins

There’s time to fix him, but it’s worth wondering if the A’s knew something about Jesus Luzardo. He’s posted a 9.20 ERA in his three starts for the Marlins. 3 51-67

24


Royals

Salvador Perez’s previous career high in homers was 27. He’s at 30 and counting right now. 2 49-67

25


Nationals

Remember when Victor Robles was a higher-ranked prospect than Juan Soto? He’s still only 24, but he’s hitting just .209/.316/.308. He’s played in 340 MLB games. 2 50-68

26


Cubs

This is the first time in franchise history that the Cubs have had two different losing streaks of at least 11 games. Through June 24, neither of them had even started. And the second one ran to 11 on Aug. 14. That’s efficient. 2 52-68

27


Rangers

Do they have something in rookie closer Joe Barlow? So far he has a 0.61 ERA, 0.82 WHIP and 18 strikeouts in 14 2/3 innings. 3 42-76

28


Pirates

Bryan Reynolds, MVP candidate? Look at the numbers. If you are the type of person who doesn’t require MVP to come from a contender, he’s in the mix. 1 42-76

29


Diamondbacks

Tyler Gilbert threw a no-hitter in his first career start. That’s simply astounding. Good for him and good for D-Backs fans to get such a feel-good moment in this lost season. 38-81

30


Orioles

That’s now 11 losses in a row. The good news is it isn’t their longest skid this season (14) and that the franchise record is really high (they were 0-21 to start the 1988 season). 2 38-78



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